GOVERNMENT has approved the hosting of the third edition of the International Conference of African Cultures (ICAC) 2021 scheduled to run from November 23 to 25 at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) in Harare.

On Tuesday, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa told a post-Cabinet media briefing that ICAC 2021 seeks to explore issues around restitution, return and repatriation of African cultural property held outside the continent.

“The nation is informed that Zimbabwe intends to host the third edition of the International Conference on African Cultures (ICAC) under the theme Africa Speaks: Dealing with Repatriation from an African Perspective. It is undisputed that these cultural artefacts are carriers of deep personal meanings and national importance to the countries of origin more than where they are currently domiciled,” she said.

“The country intends to ride on this platform to gain traction in its international engagement and re-engagement efforts by affording Africa in particular, and the World in general, to define repatriation and interrogate colonial injustice which resulted in the displacement of African cultural goods.”

Added Mutsvangwa: “The conference will incorporate aspirations of Africa’s Agenda 2063, the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance as well as the 2021 African Union theme Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.

“In this regard, the resolutions of the conference will feed into the African Union Plan of Action on Culture and Creative industries.”

Mutsvangwa also said Cabinet had approved the memorandum of co-operation between the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) and the French Development Agency as presented by Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage minister Kazembe Kazembe on the improvements of infrastructure at the Great Zimbabwe World Heritage site.

“The nation is hereby informed that the project intends to improve the infrastructure at the site as well as enhancing capacity building, economic development and cultural empowerment of the local communities,” she said.

“The nation is further informed that following a feasibility study carried out by the NMMZ, the major challenges faced by the Great Zimbabwe Heritage site were identified, documentation and conservation of the tangible and intangible heritage.

“Interpretation and visitor facilities, management and promotion of additional tourism attractions and management and protection of the Great Zimbabwe Heritage site and its physical and social environment.”

Mutsvangwa added that the co-operation ensured the development and renovation of the Great Zimbabwe World Heritage site, mobilisation and capacity building of the National Museums and Monuments and development needs of communities around Great Zimbabwe.

She said upon completion, the site was envisaged to attract more domestic and foreign tourists and make them stay longer at the site.

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