“ROADS TO INDEPENDENCE IN AFRICA: THE AFRICAN LIBERATION HERITAGE PROGRAMME”
The ‘Roads to Independence in Africa: The African Liberation Heritage Programme’ is a continental programme with its headquarters hosted in Tanzania, currently implemented in the SADC Region countries of the African Region whose liberation movements was based in Tanzania during the liberation struggle. Those Countries are Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This concentration on what were known as the Frontline State is related to historical and geographical context. However, other African Countries, especially those which played a leading role in the liberation such as Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Libya, Nigeria and Sudan are strongly encouraged to join the Programme at this initial stage.
This programme was developed under the framework of a joint collaboration with African Union (AU) Member States and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural organization (UNESCO) broadly aimed at recognizing the spirit of solidarity, unity and cooperation amongst Africans in the context of the liberation movements. It is an acknowledgement of the importance of liberation movements to the process of decolonization of the continent, particularly the role played by Tanzania and other few Africa countries, in providing material, philosophical and moral support to the liberation movements which led to the struggle for independence in Africa. A significant aspect of this history of African countries as such stands to be lost unless it is collected, documented and made accessible to the public. For this reason, this programme also aims to document and to recognize the contribution of people and institutions to the liberation of the continent. Specifically, the Programme seeks to develop processes and identify means of valorising the heritage of Africa’s “roads to independence” and foster ownership of this important heritage among all stakeholders; to galvanize and sustain research into the liberation heritage of Africa with a view to establishing the diversity of heritage resources in the region; and to build the capacity of heritage professionals in the strategic management and presentation of Africa’s liberation heritage.
To celebrate the common heritage and shared values for sustainable development.
To ensure the history of African Liberation Heritage Struggles is effectively documented, safeguarded, shared, protected and promoted through joint efforts among the Member States.
Objectives of the Programme
Broadly, the aim of this Programme is to provide a framework for the collection, documentation, safeguarding, preservation and commemoration of the mosaic of Africa’s heritage gathered during the struggles for independence. Moreover, it aims to recognize, document and appreciate the support the liberation struggle contributed by other countries which got independence earlier. Through the promotion of the Region’s liberation heritage, the programme will contribute to the elevation of the spirit of solidarity, peace and unity in the continent; and foster dialogue for progress in the Region.
Against that broad aim, this Strategy will pursue the achievement of four specific objectives emerging as the core purpose of this Programme:
1.To galvanise and sustain research into the liberation heritage of Africa with the view to reinforce the diversity of heritage resources
The result of this objective is that ALH is well researched, published and utilized for improved policy, education and knowledge in the Region. The expected outputs are a comprehensive and robust knowledge base on ALH developed and partnerships for research and networks established, strengthened and/or fostered through the promotion of research on ALH, particularly by engaging the academia; publishing of research studies on liberation struggles; mainstreaming of ALH in national curriculums and integrated in didactic materials; and the development of a mechanism for the compilation, recognition and regular exchange of relevant research on ALH.
2.To develop processes and identify means of valorising the heritage of Africa’s “Roads to Independence” and foster ownership of the liberation heritage among all stakeholders
The main aim of this objective is to ensure that ALH is effectively promoted and made accessible to the public for effective preservation and safeguarding by present and future generations. Expected outputs from planned interventions will include a Regional One-stop Centre that is established and operational; a database of regional heritage inventory created; the digitization of audio and visual archives; heritage sites and monuments adequately marked and rehabilitated; public awareness raised on ALH and public access to ALH heritage increased; community ownership and participation enhanced for the safeguarding of ALH; and a regional mechanism in place for the exchange and preservation of heritage sites and archives. Planned interventions include the identification, documentation and protection of Heritage sites and archives and well as ensuring the legal protection for this heritage; the promotion of the use of ICTs for heritage preservation; conducting a public outreach and awareness campaign; and development of modalities for regional exchange and preservation of heritage sites and archives.
3.To build the capacity of heritage professionals in the strategic management and presentation of Africa’s liberation heritage
The result of this objective is to see that ALH heritage sites and archives are better managed, coordinated and promoted, including documentation and monitoring for increased accountability and quality delivery. Expected outputs will ensure that capacities and skills are reinforced; technical assistance and policy advice is provided; and conferences and workshops are organized. Planned activities include the assessment of the opportunities available for the promotion of talents and creative industries in cultural, liberation heritage, including ALH tourism; organization of workshops for skills development, sharing of experience and expertise in ALH preservation and promotion; and the compilation of best practices for effective benchmarking for the development of local capacities on ALH, including emerging issues (such as technological advancements, trafficking of artefacts…).
4.To coordinate the African Liberation Heritage Programme in an integrated manner among the Member States
This objective aims to ensure that Member States benefit from a well-coordinated Programme emanating from the promotion of peace and solidarity nurtured for sustainable development. Planned interventions include the strengthening of the Regional Secretariat for the ALH Programme and the reinforcement of national chapters. Activities will support resource mobilization for improved implementation and sustainability as well as the harmonization of policy and legal frameworks on ALH, including Agenda 2063 and SDGs 2030 while developing partnerships for effective implementation of ALH Programme, including the private sector, research institutions and civil society within and outside of Africa. This will achieve key outputs including a functional Regional Office in place and adequately equipped; national chapters established and operational; an effective institutional structure and systems for coordination in place; a resource mobilization strategy; guiding policy and legal frameworks reviewed; and policy analysis, monitoring and benchmarking ensured
In summary ALHP based on key priorities areas on preservation, research, capacity building and coordination, specifically in the four main objectives of the Programme:
1. To galvanise and sustain research into the liberation heritage of Africa with the view to reinforce the diversity of heritage resources
2. To develop processes and identify means of valorising the heritage of Africa’s “Roads to Independence” and foster ownership of the liberation heritage among all stakeholders
3. To build the capacity of heritage professionals in the strategic management and presentation of Africa’s liberation heritage
4. To coordinate the African Liberation Heritage Programme in an integrated manner among the Member States
At a regional level
A one stop heritage resource centre will be developed. The centre will draw on resources available in participating countries as well as serving them. For various reasons those elaborated upon earlier, Tanzania will serve as headquarters in Dar es Salaam for the regional centre which will comprise of, but will not be limited to:
· A museum
· A library
· An archive
· A research centre
· A cinema hall and theatre
· An inventory and public visibility of the historic sites to be celebrated
The museum shall have an important role as collector and keeper of memory, of artefacts and objects and of protecting places and spaces at risk of destruction from development. The museum shall have space for artists to express themselves in respect of Africa's liberation through exhibitions and performances. As custodian of liberation heritage, the proposed museum is relevant to Africa's development and shall become a window into the future in contexts where change is often accompanied by loss. As place of learning, the museum shall provide an avenue for fostering dialogue and cultural interaction. It is therefore relevant in the discourse of Africa's roads to independence. Moreover, the museum will also be a means of telling the story in other forms than through books.
In Africa where cultural heritage is largely oral, oral history and oral traditions serve as archives in their holding of cumulated experiences and knowledge of people. For the purpose of this programme, the opportunity to explore a variety of media through which archives can be presented is important because it will be strategic to consider several types of archives for purposes of collecting, documenting and presenting information. With the programme proposed as a multidisciplinary and multi-country initiative, the appeal of virtual archives is their ease of access, potential to hold large volumes of information and instantaneous access to information. This media provides an exciting avenue for the engagement of African communities in this domain of heritage. In addition, the recognition of indigenous and traditional knowledge systems also provides an avenue for the harnessing of the rich Data base of Africa's intangible heritage particularly the documentation of the living histories of former liberation heroes and communities who lived through various episodes of the struggles for freedom. Every African country is concerned in this process.
The research centre shall be a place where further research on the liberation of Africa shall be undertaken. The research shall seek to throw more light not only on the liberation struggle itself but also on the aftermath of the struggle. The centre should help researchers to dig up the story or stories yet untold regarding Africa's complex road to liberation. Moreover, the centre shall become the platform for trying to understand the present socio-economic and cultural conditions of Africa. The findings of the research centre shall feed into the museum, library and archives. This research centre shall also be instrumental in developing a think tank centre for major contemporary issues in Africa.
CINEMA HALL AND THEATRE
The cinema building shall incorporate a theatre so that there shall be space for continuous viewing of films and a variety of artistic expressions on the liberation struggle and related themes. The theatre shall provide artists with an opportunity to express themselves on the liberation struggles in a more interactive manner and from an African perspective. The African film industry is very young though the potential is high. By working together on the programme film makers and artists from the different countries will rally around a common theme and tell the African liberation story in an unprecedented way. The cinema and theatre shall allow visitors to get a glimpse of what the freedom fighters had to go through, the way in which different countries supported the struggle and reflect on what that experience means to the development of Africa.
SITES INVENTORY AND VISIBILITY
Many buildings and sites that were used by combatants and their supporters during the liberation struggles remain undocumented and even those that are documented lack public visibility. The programme shall undertake surveys that will see to it that the sites and buildings are documented, clearly demarcated and marked and, as much as possible, accessible to the public. Documentation and demarcation will facilitate the determination of accessibility levels and maintenance needs.
The Tanzania National Chapter will be at Kongwe whereas the other regions will be emphasized to have the sub-national chapter cultural and Liberation heritage centre for aim of promoting cultural tourism and establishing the Liberation Tourism.
Tanzania is significant in the conceptualization of this programme for a number of reasons. Tanzania was the base for the African Liberation Committee which was established by the Organisation of African Unity in 1964 and dissolved in 1994 when South Africa gained independence. The archives of that Committee will serve as a critical resource to start with. Tanzania's contributions to the liberation struggles of Africa included the provision of bases for several of the liberation movements, provision of training for cadres and other forms of military assistance rendered to the movements. Through Mwalimu Nyerere's leadership, Tanzania was the material, political, philosophical and spiritual base for many liberation movements, Tanzania ensured that a generation of Africa leaders was ready when the countries gained their independence. Through the "Dar School", intellectuals at the University of Dar es Salaam provided future African leaders with a philosophy of African unity (Pan - Africanism) which is still today the vision of the African Union (AU).
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE PROGRAMME
In 2002, there was a strong urge by many stakeholders both within and outside the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), that the various facets of and processes of decolonization and independence of African countries and the role played by Tanzania in providing moral, material and philosophical support to liberation movements be identified, documented, celebrated and safeguarded. It was realized that this initiative was urgent because most of the information about Africa’s liberation heritage was widely scattered and oral with the increasingly impending threat of losing this unique memory and heritage.
In October 2004, a Stakeholders’ Meeting with the theme Cultural Heritage Promotion and Preservation of African Liberation Vestiges in Tanzania that included the Government, CCM, UNESCO Dar es Salaam Office and other stakeholders including African Heads of Diplomatic Missions in Tanzania and representatives from Morocco, Mauritius, and the Seychelles that was held in Dar es Salaam to discuss ways in which the spirit of solidarity and cooperation amongst Africans could be recognized in the context of liberation movements. It was sadly noted that there were no clearly visible symbols and/or official acknowledgement of the over 40 years’ contribution of Tanzania to liberation movements including ANC, FRELIMO, MPLA, PAC, TANU, ZANU and ZAPU. Evidence or symbols were missing that would show how, where, and when the struggles for independence took place, who did it and where they operated from. The meeting came up with an agreement that action had to be taken to rectify the situation. It was also agreed that a delegation be sent to other African countries to determine whether the initiative had the support of countries, especially those of former liberation movements which would then be sent to UNESCO for broader recognition and support.
The delegation led by Mr. Philip Mangula, then Secretary General of CCM visited Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
A Draft Resolution on the “Roads to Independence: African Liberation Heritage” with the support of eleven other African countries (Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe) was submitted by the United Republic of Tanzania and approved by the 33 Session of the General Conference of UNESCO (33 C/DR. 29) on 14 September 2005.
In 2006, the Tanzania National Commission for UNESCO in collaboration with UNESCO Dar es Salaam Cluster Office hosted a sub-regional consultative meeting that brought together UNESCO National Commissions and UNESCO Field Offices in the SADC countries as well as members of the Diplomatic Corps based in Dar es Salaam to discuss the African Liberation Heritage Programme Document. The Programme has been presented and discussed with African Ambassadors and High Commissioners in Dar es Salaam, with African Permanent Delegations at UNESCO, Paris (2007), International Consultative Meeting in Windhoek (2008), AU-SADC-UNESCO gathering on Culture, Tourism and Development in Johannesburg (2009) and so on. All this consultations were made in order to refine the concept.
In 2008, the African Liberation Heritage Programme was presented at the meeting of leaders of the political parties which were liberation movements during Africa’s liberation struggles. The leaders discussed the Programme and directed that it be presented to the Africa Union (AU). In January 2011 Tanzania’s proposal to establish a Continental Programme to valorise the African Liberation Heritage was presented to the African Union (AU) where it was endorsed by the Sixteenth Ordinary Session (Assembly/AU/Dec.357 (XVI)). The Assembly called upon the Commission and all Member States to extend maximum support to the programme. Encouraged by the AU support further consultations were held and on the way forward. The ‘Roads to Independence in Africa: The African Liberation Heritage Programme’ was launched on 8th December 2011 in the United Republic of Tanzania.
The Programme is at different points of implementation in Member States. The Regional Headquarters in the United Republic of Tanzania has been established and national chapters set-up in several countries including Tanzania (2006), Angola, Mozambique, Namibia (2008), Zimbabwe (2007) and Zambia (2009). The Programme aims to be more inclusive, open to all African Member States, particularly the supporting countries in the liberation struggles including Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Libya, Nigeria and Sudan.
KEY ACTIVITIES OF THE PROGRAMME
The Programme is a comprehensive and evaluative undertaking involving several major activities including: research and tracer studies, publication of books, documentary films, library, collection and exhibition of museum objects, and works on a number of monuments to commemorate places where the leaders of the liberation struggle stayed or operated. These activities are not exhaustive and it is anticipated that more activity areas will be identified in the course of the programme. Resultant activities shall be preceded by consultation with the stakeholders.
The programme is to be developed as a multi-resource facility fully equipped with the use of state of the art technologies located at the main headquarters in Tanzania. The programme would rely on the institutions in the different countries to develop activities, on the national chapters to oversee such activities and for the international steering committee to coordinate the various regional activities.
Though located in one country the programme would have a consolidated heritage resource and program operating as a multi-country, multi-resources facility through collaboration with existing institutions responsible for sites and monuments in the different participating countries. By using the latest technologies the programme would still be accessed virtually through the web thus enabling the other countries to benefit from the resources at the main programme office. Through a network facility of institutions like museums and archives and a shared strategy of resources development, the programme could function effectively with one composite programme location but with programs and activities carried out in the other participating countries. The exchange of staff and resources such as the use of travelling exhibitions could enhance joint program development within and between countries. Beyond political freedom, there are many freedoms which have been celebrated by Africans over the last fifty years and it is these untold and undocumented stories which this project can bring to fore.
Inspire writers to continue more vigorously to document the biographies of liberation heroes such as Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Nelson Mandela, Augustino Neto, Samora Marcel, Kenneth Kaunda, Robert Mugabe and others who have not yet been celebrated.
It should also be noted that like other programmes under the UNESCO "Routes" banner, the African Liberation Heritage Programme can "... encourage positive convergence between cultures through the presentation and recognition of a common heritage and plural identities" for the people of Africa. When presented through the metaphor of "roads1' and "journeys", the lived experiences of liberation heroes and their communities gain new life and create more potential for recounting which are critical for sustaining the programme. This is because they enable others to join in along the way and these are envisaged to compromise communities, development partners, governments and private sector entities. Like African roads which lead those journeys through them along uncharted terrain with diverse environments, so too this programme promises to provide a vibrant and dynamic process for building, protecting and celebrating the vibrant heritage of the attainment of freedom by the continent. Beyond political freedom, there are many freedoms which have been celebrated by Africans over the last fifty years and it is these untold and undocumented stories which this programme can bring to fore.
PROGRESS ON PROGRAMME COORDINATION TO DATE
There has been considerable progress towards the achievement of the main areas of regional intervention which are preservation, research and capacity building. In the promotion of preservation of ALH heritage land should be allocated by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania for the construction of the One-stop Regional Liberation Heritage Centre. The Centre will host the permanent office of the Secretariat of the Programme; provide a repository for audio visual material including multimedia films and theatre productions.
In terms of research, several surveys has been undertaken to identify and document African Liberation Heritage archives in Tanzania with the view to initiate measures to preserve and protect it. It is envisaged, under the framework of the Programme that every national chapter will aim to identify, document and protect the selected heritage archives in each of the Member States with the aim to exchange and jointly feed into the database with a consolidated inventory of the Region’s one-stop heritage Center.
The interviewing of witnesses for oral testimonies of the Liberation Struggles is also underway in the United Republic of Tanzania, as well as the digitization of audio archives. Other initiatives also include the identification of gaps in publications. The importance of collecting oral testimonies of witnesses of the liberation struggle cannot be over emphasized. The urgency of this matter has been raised over and over again in different regional for a as many of the witnesses are in their late years. Initial studies undertaken during the preparatory phase that developed the Programme concept, revealed that there is low capacity in ‘oral history’ research and presentation. There is a need to develop the capacity of experts in this field which is so critical to all aspects of Africa’s history.
In furtherance of capacity building, training workshops on intangible cultural heritage; on general survey of heritage archives; and Training for digitization of audio archives; and several other engagements, workshops and meetings at different levels on the Liberation Heritage in the region have imparted knowledge for skills development to strengthen expertise in preservation management and enhanced coordination of efforts within the Region.
Regional Workshops on the Liberation Heritage Route have been organized by the South African National Heritage Council with the purpose, amongst others, to share experience and facilitate exchange on progress, develop common approaches and encourage collaboration. Other notable initiatives include dialogue on the Namibian Museum of the Liberation Struggle; Samora Machel – Nelson Mandela House in Lobatse; Botswana’s Liberation Route Sites and Programme linked to Tourism, Conservation and the Presidency ; Zambia’s Tambo House and related initiatives. Another notable Regional workshop was convened by Botswana around the Kazungula/Kasane Liberation Node in November 2015 which included heads of cultural heritage, museums and heritage in the SADC countries like Ghana, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Nigeria and Benin.
Awareness promotion and outreach is ongoing, Africa Liberation Week is commemorated every year in May by several countries. For creation of publicity for the heritage landmarks, identified sites and monuments are being marked for easy identification. Increased visibility of the heritage will continue to inspire young people to learn more about the site and the struggles and, in addition, destruction through real or assumed ignorance shall be minimized.
There has been progress in the establishment and operation of National Chapters including Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Other countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Lesotho, Libya, Nigeria, Seychelles and Sudan have also expressed interest to join the Programme.