Marrying of two iconic World Heritage Sites: South Africa’s Robben Island and Mauritius’ Le Morne Cultural Landscape
20 March 2017
Robben Island World Heritage Site (RIWHS) and Le Morne Cultural Landscape, (situated in the Republic of Mauritius), signed a Twinning Agreement at the Atlantic Imbizo, Clock Tower House at the V&A Waterfront. The prestigious event was attended by both South African and Mauritian delegates, where the agreement was sealed by Robben Island Museum’s (RIM) Council Chairperson, Mr. Sibusiso Buthelezi and Mauritius’ Minister of Sports and Culture, Honourable Prithvirajsing Roopun. Through this agreement, RIWHS will be able to solidify its connection to similar sites of social memory on the African continent. Pictured signing the agreement, is Buthelezi (left) and Mr J. Balnock, Chairperson of the Le Morne Board.
It was a celebratory event as guests witnessed this historic moment of two iconic World Heritage Sites joining hands. Both these sites are a symbol of cultural diplomacy.
“As a World Heritage Site, continuous innovation and capacity building is key as stipulated by the World Heritage Capacity Building Strategy, adopted by the World Heritage Committee in 2011*,” says Chief Heritage Officer of Robben Island Museum, Mr. Pascall Taruvinga. “The Strategy responds to the identified needs of a diverse and growing audience for capacity building for World Heritage conservation and management activities. Development of resource materials such as best practice case studies and communication tools are among the activities foreseen by the strategy. Therefore the Twinning Agreement between RIWHS and Le Morne Cultural Landscape is a fulfilment of this strategy. Through exchange and collaborative programs between the two sites, we will be able to build capacity around world heritage in areas of research, conservation and management,” he explains.
Honourable Roopun equally expressed his delight in partnering with RIWHS because of their common shared objectives. He added that he is happy to see this day finally come to fruition. The day included cultural performances by local group, Ilitha LeLanga Marimba Ensemble that kept guests entertained and feeling proudly South African.
“Recognition and appreciation of cultural diversity is essential for purposeful coexistence,” shares Taruvinga. “As RIM, we are appreciative of this historic event that unfolded today in the year that RIM celebrates 20 years as a museum. We hope it is exemplary to other world heritage sites that through unity and collaboration, we stand an even better chance at championing heritage preservation,” concludes Taruvinga.