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Preservation of Africa's liberation heritage

UNESCO Office Windhoek

Africa’s Liberation Heritage is a project to record and celebrate the neglected history of African support for the liberation struggle in other African states. The African Liberation Movement, and the coordination work of the Liberation Committee of the Organization of African Unity, is the single most influential factor in modern day Africa. As such it demands urgent attention lest an important part of Africa’s history is lost. Much of the history was not documented, or records were destroyed because of the clandestine nature of the struggle and a need to ensure the security of the activists. Many of the key figures are now approaching old age, and there is an urgent need to record their oral histories - it is a race against time. In particular, the role of women in the struggle needs to be documented, including the sacrifices made to support the activists.

Much has been written on the theme of a Pan-Africa spirit, of the desirability of African nations working together to better the lives of the people of the continent. The support given by African nations to their oppressed fellow Africans in the liberation struggle - embracing finance, training and sites for bases, materials, political support in international forums, economic sanctions, and extension of political asylum and ultimately sacrifice of life - is perhaps the most triumphant example of the Pan-African spirit in practice.

Although individual nations are recording and commemorating their own struggles, and some work has started on the regional support, the major task is yet to be tackled. This is a considerable and comprehensive undertaking, which links at least seven major activities, including: presentation of an initial project document, research and tracer studies, book publications, documentary films, a library, a museum, and works on a number of monuments to, commemorate places where the leaders of the liberation struggle stayed or operated.

Seven countries are the focus of the project: Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The project will embrace sister parties, universities and museums, cultural and scientific bodies.

The UNESCO Windhoek Cluster office, represented by Mrs Alcina Chipeio-Ndjavera participated and assisted in the delegation’s missions to Angola (10-15 August 2004) and Namibia.

Surely the world at large will benefit from this project in the interests of science and education.

The African continent will benefit through AU, as a record of its history will be for once authenticated and immortalized for posterity.

Liberation heroes will be recognized and immortalized. Many heroic deeds were performed, and sacrifices made for future generations.

In as much as any museum or national monument, stands to the credit of those it honours, so too shall the African Liberation Museum, stand to the credit of all those who paid the ultimate price for love of country. To the refugees and the African Diaspora the vestiges will always remain important memories.

UNESCO will provide the technical know-how, pre-project seed money and will be a member of the Board. As a UN body, UNESCO’s involvement will be vital for the credibility of such a programme. Involvement is proposed at the highest level and through national commissions and field offices so due respect will be paid to the dignity of the exercise, by having it approved, sponsored and endorsed by the most reputable and widely respected organization concerned with such matters.

With the participation of UNESCO, the project shall unite nations; it will consolidate solidarity between nations; while educating the world at large on the African Liberation Movement.

Start Date 10 Aug 2004
End Date 15 Aug 2004
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Event Location Angola, Namibia
Organizer UNESCO Office Windhoek
Contact UNESCO Office Windhoek
E-mail windhoek@unesco.org
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