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The European Union (EU) Delegation to Uganda has supported the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda to implement a project for the protection and promotion of historical buildings and sites in Kampala, Jinja and Entebbe.
Many of these buildings and sites illustrate also the connection between Europe and Uganda. The support is part of activities to mark 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage.
The main project activities implemented so far have been: (i) workshop for 20 researchers and photographers, as well as officers of the local authorities; with the support of European expertise, the trainees have fine-tuned their investigative and documenting methodologies; (ii) identification of about 60 buildings and sites in the three targeted cities; (iii) researches and photo documentation of the buildings and sites; (iv) holding of seminars intended to national and local authorities, NGOs, historical building owners, private sector representatives; the aim of the seminars is to raise awareness about the historical value of the buildings and their potential in terms of socio-economic development.
The most notable 4 sites in Kampala (Bulange, Mengo Primary School, Watoto Church, and the National Museum) have been marked with commemorative plaques telling their stories and socio-cultural significance.
The plaques were unveiled this week under the auspices of the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Hon. Ephraim Kamuntu, and EU Ambassador to Uganda H.E. Attilio Pacifici.
A wide audience, composed by historians, architects, conservationists, cultural experts, religious and cultural leaders, anthropologists, sociologists, private sector representatives, buildings owners, have shown their commitment to the acknowledgement of the importance of historical buildings in Uganda and the need to preserve them.
Addressing the audience at the Uganda Museum, Ambassador Pacifici stressed the innovative nature of the project: "It will pave the way for a ground-breaking perspective about historical buildings in Uganda, and an innovative approach to their use, re-use and management. We hope that the project will not only raise awareness on the value of historical buildings, but will also generate opportunities to create new jobs and develop innovative business, especially for young people," he said.
Ambassador Pacifici also evoked the opportunity offered by the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage, which celebrates culture, traditions and creative expression. "This 2018 has been the occasion to share with our Ugandan friends those values, as well as the European experience and know-how in protection and valorization of cultural heritage".
Prof. Kamuntu said the Government of Uganda had identified and documented a total of 650 new historical sites that need to be preserved for Uganda’s heritage because they have a spiritual value and are part of cultural identity that can never be replaced in case they are destroyed. "I have seen historical buildings become big tourist attractions in several countries. If thousands of people come here to see these buildings, they will stay,” Prof. Kamuntu said.
Similar unveiling events took place in Entebbe on the 22nd of November and with the final event slated to take place in Jinja on the 27th of November 2018.
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