Heritage Issues and Potentials in Zimbabwe

Friday, April 30, 2021 11am - 12:15pm
ZOOM Session
Collage of African art, housings and plants


As part of its Heritage Lecture series, The School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland, College Park, would like to invite you to participate in a special, free webinar.

Please join Prof. Tabona Shoko and Dr. Ancila Nhamo from the University of Zimbabwe as they explore issues and potentials around the conservation of tangible and intangible heritage in their country. This session will last approximately one hour with Q/A opportunities at the end.

Please register here to participate, via Zoom, in this free webinar.

"Promoting Heritage Based Medicine For Social And Economic Change In Zimbabwe,” by Prof. Tabona Shoko

Professor ShokoProf. Shoko will examine the importance of heritage-based medicine for social and economic change in Zimbabwe. Heritage medicine plays a vital role in connecting the human and spiritual aspects of a worldview considering the fact that ancestors are the guardians of the land and people including health and wellbeing. In Zimbabwe, for a long time, traditional medicine has been denigrated as backward, inferior and archaic in relation to bio-medicine during colonial times. But, in a post-colonial context, there has been calls for a reappraisal of “traditional medicine,” fostering a surge of mainstream heritage-based medicine in the educational sector, the sprouting of herbal gardens, and surgeries and shops selling herbs in a manner that promotes the cultural heritage of a people. The COVID-19 pandemic, in its pursuit of a cure against the deadly virus, has reinforced the importance of heritage based medicine through the use of steaming, herbs, and plants to restore people’s health. Heritage based medicine, including its place-specific components, is a model in the cultural sector that promotes social and economic value and transformation in modern Zimbabwe. 

Tabona Shoko is a Professor of African Traditional Religion in the Department of Philosophy, Religion and Ethics, University of Zimbabwe. His research and publication interests include African traditional healing and medicine, cultural heritage, pentecostalism, religion and human rights, gender, and religion and environment.  

"Decolonising Cultural Heritage In Africa,” by Dr. Ancila Nhamo

Dr. Ancila NhamoThe history of colonialism in Africa is common knowledge. What is not so well-known is the impact it has had on Africans in regard to how they perceive and relate to their own cultural heritage. Africa is extremely rich in cultural heritage, ranging from the oldest known remains of human ancestors to modern cultural traditions. However, much of the heritage is disappearing and the remainder suffers from neglect and destruction mainly due to negative perceptions cultivated by the process of colonialism and its aftermaths. The colonial process entrenched negative attitudes towards African culture and cultural heritage by labeling it primitive, backward, uneducated, and evil. On the backdrop of calls by the United Nations through the UNESCO and other multilateral organizations to consider culture (inclusive of the heritage) as a developmental pillar, African nations such as Zimbabwe have developed their own mechanism of utilizing local resources for social and economic development. Zimbabwe’s heritage-based philosophy for higher education, science, innovation, and technology development may be a glimmer of hope for the revival and conservation of cultural heritage. At the same time, it may prove to be the key that unlocks the long-awaited decolonization process. 

Ancila Nhamo Katsamudanga (Ph.D.) is a research specialist for Humanities and Social Sciences in the Research and Innovation Directorate at the University of Zimbabwe. Her responsibilities include engaging faculty, students, and other colleagues in the Directorate to accentuate research that provides usable solutions to current and future challenges. With a background in archaeology and heritage studies, Ancila is a researcher whose main interests lie in providing ways of utilizing heritage not only for the benefit of society but also as a conservation measure that perpetuates the heritage itself.

Program / Center Affiliation
Research and Creative Practice Areas