AFRICOM to implement AU recommandations on culture

International Council of African Museums and African Union co-operation

Published on 13 June 2010

Author(s): AFRICOM News, Issue 8, 2009/10

Type:  News

African Museums have a great need for capacity building, for standards in the documentation of African collections and for harmonization of policies dealing with the inventorying, protection and promotion of African cultural goods

The Executive Director of AFRICOM, Dr. Rudo Sithole, was invited by the African Union (AU) to attend the 2nd Pan-African Cultural Congress of the AU in November 2009. The conference was held at the AU Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The theme was “Inventory, Protection and Promotion of African Cultural Goods”.There were eight plenary sessions, each dealing with a specific sub-theme of the main conference theme.

One of the subthemes was “Survey on Technical Staff and Inventories in African Museums”. The EPA Director Mr. Alain Godounou’s thematic presentation for this subtheme dealt with the results of a survey commissioned by the AU in 18 museums representing the different regions of Africa. The survey was conducted by EPA. The survey findings indicated a need for capacity building in African Museums, need for standards in the documentation of African collections and the need for harmonization of policies dealing with the inventorying, protection and promotion of African cultural goods.

The AFRICOM Executive Director was nominated as the first and main respondent to the presentation by the EPA Director. The AFRICOM Executive Director, emphasized the fact that African heritage is not only made up of cultural aspects but natural aspects as well hence any measures for the inventorying, protection and promotion of African Heritage should include natural heritage. She proposed a number of ways in which conditions in African Museums can be improved among them; professional capacity building in curatorship and documentation, exchange programmes between African museums and the rest of the World, strengthening of security in museums, short courses to make the police, customs and other partners aware of the ways in which to combat illicit trafficking in heritage artifacts.

In terms of promoting African heritage, she recommended advocacy campaigns through the print and electronic media, travelling exhibitions, and enhanced celebrations to mark International Museums Day. Recommendations emerging out of this conference, especially those in line with AFRICOM’s responsibilities, are that;

  1. Professional organizations such as AFRICOM and ICOM should be called upon to study the means of creating, encouraging and implementing documentation standards in African Museums.
  2. A proposal for the establishment of an African Museum should be submitted to AU.
  3. 3. The preservation and promotion of traditional forms of cultural expression be prioritized.
  4. 4. Regional, sub-regional and international organizations, which engage in the promotion and protection of the diversity of cultural expressions, should include in their objectives, building of awareness for their member states that are yet to ratify the 2005 convention. Similarly, the civil society and all the cultural actors should be supported in their sensitization actions.
    5. Specific cultural days such as the Africa day sho
  5. ld be promoted all over the continent with strong cultural programmes.

AFRICOM is therefore ready to engage the AU and its partners such as the EU, all the African Governments, other heritage institutions and African museums to ensure implementation of the recommendations of the 2ND Pan-African Cultural Congress.


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