Southern African Intangible Cultural Heritage Cooperation

SAICH News : 2019


Some Highlights from 2018

ICH in Tertiary Institutions Survey

The SAICH Platform Coordination Team successfully completed an intensive survey on “Intangible Cultural Heritage in Tertiary Education Institutions in Southern Africa”. The study, which covered eight countries, mapped ICH-related education programmes, identified opportunities and interests in developing ICH-related programmes and explored the feasibility of establishing a network of universities in the Southern Africa region in order to deepen a reflection of ICH in the academic world. The findings were reviewed at a validation workshop in Harare in August by participants from the participating countries. The report was expected to be published online.

Setting up of SAICHA-Net

Participants at the validation workshop agreed to establish an ICH network of tertiary institutions in the region and elected a small group to write the foundation document. Procedures are now under way to establish the Southern Africa Intangible Cultural Heritage Academic Network (SAICHA-Net) with the SAICH Platform taking the lead.

Joint nomination of the mbira/sansi

Following recommendations that were made at COM 10 2015 in Namibia on the nomination of a multinational nomination of the mbira musical instrument, and based on inventorying work that was subsequently done by Malawi on the sansi and by Zimbabwe on the mbira, a joint nomination of the mbira/sansi (finger-plucking traditional musical instrument) was compiled and submitted by the two countries. The SAICH Platform has been instrumental in initiating preparing the multinational nomination file 'Mbira/Sansi, finger-plucking traditional musical instrument of Malawi and Zimbabwe', which was submitted by Malawi and Zimbabwe for a possible inscription in 2018 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The final decision on this nomination will be made during the 13th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (COM 13) held from 26 November to 1 December 2018 in Port Louis, Mauritius. The SAICH Platform Coordination Team will be represented at COM.

New UNESCO-Flanders Project Phase

Funding has been secured for a new phase of the UNESCO-Flanders project “Strengthening Sub-regional Cooperation and National Capacities in Seven Southern African Countries for Implementing the 2003 Convention for Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (2018)”. Two major thrusts of the new project phase will be:

  • building a strong ICH tech hub with a vibrant and interactive platform for ICH information dissemination, sharing and dialoguing; and
  • domesticating the 2003 ICH Convention through translation into local languages and the production of awareness raising materials both in print and audio-visual formats.

The new project phase will run from November 2018 to August 2019, by which time it is expected that the SAICH Platform will be ready to bid for the institutionalisation of its work as a UNESCO ICH Centre Category 2.

Highlights from 2015-17

Events and activities of the SAICH Platform from 2015 to 2017 are covered comprehensively in these two documents: