University of Denver, Sturm Hall, Room 253 (2nd Floor)
2000 East Asbury Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
Lecturer: Charles M. Musiba
Cultural World Heritage Sites in Africa are increasingly playing a major role in shaping the socioeconomic, stewardship, preservation, conservation, and sustainable use of these sites. Many African countries now recognize that apart from constructing national and socio-cultural identities, cultural World Heritage Sites have the potential to also propel the economic growth for communities surround these sites. If properly managed, these sites have the capacity of not only becoming beacons of peace but they can also become centers of tourism (Ho and McKercher 2004; Mabulla 2000). For many years, the management of cultural heritage sites and the designation of some of them as World Heritage Sites in Africa were based on European ideas of conservation and this disconnected many African local communities from their cultural heritage sites. As a result, local African communities living near cultural heritage sites were not involved in their conservation and management. Discourses on the administration of cultural heritage sites in many African countries, such as Botswana South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, are now making it possible to engage local people in the management of these sites (see for example, Pwiti 1997; Musiba and Mabulla 2003). Part of the strategy of sustainable management of cultural World Heritage Sites in many parts of Africa includes creating opportunities for the local communities to be involved in tourism activities so as to economically empower them and improve their lives. Here I will discuss the planned development of paleoanthropological sites of Laetoli and Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania as examples to show how local communities can benefit from cultural World Heritage Sites.