A Tribute to
Prof. Dawson Munjeri

11 July 1949 – 29 April 2024

It is with profound sadness that we inform you of the passing of Professor Dawson Munjeri, on Monday evening, 29th April 2024, after a long illness. Worldly renowned and esteemed African scholar and heritage professional, Professor Munjeri embodies the essence of intellectual prowess and dedicated service to safeguarding Africa’s rich and diverse heritage.

 Born and raised in Zimbabwe, and Pan-Africanist at heart, Professor Munjeri navigated a path of rigorous scholarship, fuelled by a passion for advancing knowledge and understanding of African heritage and its conservation practices. His great contribution towards the implementation of the World Heritage Convention in Zimbabwe led to an illustrious international career as Deputy Permanent Delegate of Zimbabwe to UNESCO from 2002 to 2017.

At UNESCO, Professor Munjeri tirelessly championed initiatives aimed at advancing the objectives of the Global Strategy for a credible, balanced and representative World Heritage List, especially by helping African States Parties address the challenge of underrepresentation of African sites on the World Heritage List. 

In pursuit of his noble mission, Professor Munjeri was one of the founding members of the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF), an intergovernmental organization created in 2006 by the African Union and UNESCO to support the effective conservation and protection of the cultural and natural heritage of Outstanding Universal Value in Africa. He was instrumental in shaping the mission and objectives of the AWHF, and his passion for safeguarding Africa’s heritage was unmatched. He brought to the table a wealth of knowledge, experience, and dedication that left an indelible mark on the Fund and continues to guide our efforts in protecting and celebrating the continent’s rich and diverse heritage.

 Renowned for his role as a mentor and advocate for aspiring scholars across Africa, Professor Munjeri has tirelessly championed initiatives aimed at nurturing the next generation of African intellectuals, scholars and professionals in the field of heritage. Upon his retirement from UNESCO, he joined the Great Zimbabwe University in Zimbabwe as a research professor at that institution’s Center for Cultural Heritage. With the support of the AWHF, he championed the creation of the UNESCO Chair on African Heritage in 2020, emphasizing the importance of rigorous inquiry and interdisciplinary collaboration for an in-depth understanding of the African heritage and its contribution towards the African development agenda.

Professor Munjeri will be remembered not only for his significant contributions to the AWHF but also for his tireless advocacy for the recognition and conservation of Africa’s heritage on the global stage. His legacy will continue to inspire current and future generations of heritage professionals and scholars across the continent and beyond.

 During this time of mourning, our thoughts and prayers are with Professor Munjeri’s family, friends, and colleagues. We extend our deepest condolences to all who had the privilege of knowing and working with him. May he rest in peace, knowing that his legacy will forever endure through the continued efforts of the AWHF and the wider heritage community in Africa and beyond.