On the 18th April 2021 we observe World Heritage Day which seeks to spread awareness of our rich cultural diversity and highlight the importance of preserving our heritage. The importance and purpose of celebrating World Heritage Day is to educate the younger generation to establish their legacy, respect our diverse cultures and preserve global heritage sites.
This day is internationally recognised to preserve historical sites, monuments and history associated with these sites. The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) are drivers of this globally recognised day and therefore we commend their efforts and continuous work in this regard. In 1982, the suggestion made by ICOMOS to observe World Heritage Day was solidified and final approval sanctioned during the 22nd General Conference in front of the UNESCO. The World Heritage Day 2021 theme is “Complex Pasts: Diverse Futures”. In light of our current global crisis, it becomes fundamentally important to acknowledge our complex past, our current situation and how best to move forward in order to preserve our future. Looking back, over time, at the themes outlined by ICOMOS it is evident that these should be recurring themes which we strive for and uphold.
The Antarctic Legacy of South Africa values the importance of preservation and educating the next generation about our legacy, as a nation within the Antarctic region. It is essential that we acknowledge the rich history of this region, highlight current work and ongoing research, and establish conservation efforts to preserve it. Take time to visit the Legacy archive and read more about our Antarctic involvement on the South African National Antarctic Programme website
So, on this World Heritage Day, take the time to read up on different cultures, visit local preserved sites, parks and reserves. To the younger generation, take the initiative in understanding your shared value in our global history and your responsibility in upholding and preserving our legacy. With community participation and global awareness we can change things for the better and help preserve our rich and varied cultures across the world and pave the way for a sustainable future.
Below a few landmarks in South Africa to celebrate World Heritage Day 2021
Compiled by and Cover Image: Tahlia Henry
Polar Heritage Poster: Anché Louw