Luo hopeful over Barotse cultural landscape recognition

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CHIEFS and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkandu Luo says she is confident that Barotse cultural landscape in Western Province will finally be recognised as a World Heritage Site (WHS).

Professor Luo said it was an exciting moment for Zambians especially for those that appreciated cultural heritage.

“As a country we have been worried with the fact that countries that attained their independence after us like South Africa have actually many WHS and yet Zambia that has been independent for a long time and will be celebrating 50 years has only got one site,” said Prof Luo.

Prof Luo said this at the orientation workshop on the Barotse Cultural Landscape at Pamodzi Hotel in Lusaka yesterday.

She told the International Council for Monuments and Sites mission staff and Karrel Bakker that the recognition of the Barotse cultural landscape as WHS should be treated as a must and was of great importance to the country.

She paid tribute to Prof Bakker for going to great length in showing the benefits that would be achieved once Barotse landscape was inscribed as a WHS.

She said many countries viewed floods as calamities and rushed for relief, while the people of Barotse land under the leadership of the Litunga used floods as a learning process by migrating to higher lands.

“With the serious floods, they have continued with farming activities and cultural activities like the Kuomboka ceremony which shows how the people of Barotse land survive during floods and which can be used as a learning mechanism to other countries undergoing similar situations,” she said.

National Heritage Conservation Commission Executive director Collins Chipote said the Government was convinced that there was something for the world to celebrate in the Barotse landscape as the site would play a critical role in opening up opportunities for education.

“WHS status is considered to be a tool for learning engagement and again there appears to be a degree of learning and cognitive growth at the site,” Mr Chipote said.