The first African World Heritage Day on 5th May 2016 was celebrated throughout Africa. The following States Parties  organized special National events to commemorate this day and the 10th Anniversary of the AWHF: we encourage all state parties to plan for this event every year.

(For a detailed 2016 programme of events, select the State Party)

Burkina Faso             Eritrea                Ghana                  Mozambique

Nigeria                       Zambia          Gabon

After the busy months celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the African World Heritage Fund, we briefly want to summarize all the past activities. We’ve been grateful for the support of many partners and are happy that we made the anniversary into a value adding experience. Through the Youth Forum and the Seminar, the AWHF managed to build capacity while celebrating. Please enjoy our Newsletter below (with links to original posts) or available for download here .


The African World Heritage Fund marks its 10th anniversary this year since it was launched on 5th May 2006 at Sterkfontein in South Africa. The African World Heritage Fund is an initiative of the African Member States of UNESCO and the African Union (AU) which was launched in order to support the effective conservation and protection of natural and cultural heritage of Outstanding Universal Value in Africa. In celebration of the 10th Anniversary, AWHF hosted a two week-long programme in South Africa in the form of an Expert Seminar and a Regional Youth Forum.

As part of the Africa month launch, the minister of Arts and Culture South Africa, Mr. Nathi Mthethwa, officially acknowledged the AWHF 10th Anniversary programme and introduced it to the public at a press briefing held at the Cradle of Humankind on 3rd May 2016.

African World Heritage Regional Youth Forum

The African World Heritage Regional Youth Forum on “Increasing youth involvement in the promotion and protection of African World Heritage” took place at the Robben Island World Heritage Site in Cape Town from the 28 April to the 4 May 2016. The forum was organised by the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) in partnership with the South African Government and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and hosted by the Robben Island Museum. The participants included a total of 27 young individuals from 23 African countries – Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In total, there were fourteen (14) females and thirteen (13) males.

The Forum was also attended by various dignitaries including the Minister of Tourism of South Africa, Mr. Derek Hanekom who delivered a keynote address at the Opening Ceremony while the Closing Ceremony featured the Deputy Director General of Institutional Governance, who was representing the Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Ms Rejoice Thizwilondi Mabudafhasi. Representatives from the Kenyan High Commission, Robben Island Museum, the African World Heritage Fund and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre were also in attendance.

Youth Declaration

The discussions of the forum delivered essential feedback on youth challenges, accomplishments and actions related to the implementation of the World Heritage Convention in Africa. An African Youth Declaration on World Heritage was produced. The Declaration was presented at the Closing Ceremony of the Youth Forum and at the Night of the African Legends by the youth participant from Botswana. This declaration will also be presented at the 40th World Heritage Committee Meeting in Turkey in July 2016.

Seminar on “African World Heritage… Thinking Ahead”

The seminar on “African World Heritage …Thinking Ahead “ was a partnering initiative between the South African Government, UNESCO, the African Union, the University of Cape Town, the University of Pretoria and the Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa (Cradle of Humankind). The seminar was hosted by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, and the keynote address was delivered by the Chairperson of the African World Heritage Fund, Mr. Vusi Ndima. Remarks were also shared by H E Ms. T Skymoen, H E Mr. J I Sell Sanz, and H E Mr. M Escanero Figueroa, who are respective Ambassadors of Norway, Spain and Mexico to South Africa. All the speakers extended their good wishes for the 10th Anniversary Celebration.

The Seminar reflected on the past and future of the African World Heritage, natural and cultural and gathered more than seventy (70) participants including heritage professionals, policy makers, academics, private sector, civil society, community representative and experts to discuss thematic areas focusing on (1) harmonizing heritage conservation and development initiatives, (2) enhancing the role of non-State (3) World Heritage in armed (post) conflict regions, (4) Effects and management of climate change and (5) capacity building strategies for World Heritage in Africa.

Countries represented include – Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Congo, Cote d‘Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Norway, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Zambia, Zimbabwe and representatives from UNESCO and the African Union. The participants also undertook a visit to Hominid sites in Maropeng and Sterkfontein.
A set of recommendations was developed at the end of the seminar that will be largely disseminated to heritage stakeholders in Africa. Preparation work is also underway for the publication of the proceedings.

10th Anniversary Night of the African Legends

The main event of the 10th Anniversary gathered about 250 guests on 5th May 2016 which was the first African World Heritage Day. The event was hosted by the South African Government, in the Ministry Arts and Culture. Among the distinguished guests were, Ms Rejoice Thizwilondi Mabudafhasi, Deputy Minister of Art and Culture of South Africa, Honorable Dr Hassan Wario Arero, Minister of Sports, Art and Culture of Kenya and Mr Remi Sagna, Director of Cabinet of the Ministry of Culture of Senegal. Guest speakers also included Mr Firmin Matoko, Assistant Director General – Africa Department of UNESCO, who represented the Director General of UNESCO while Mr. Themba Wakashe, founding Chairperson of the African World Heritage Fund extended his congratulatory message to AWHF for its achievement. The African Union was represented by Ms Angela Martins, Head of Culture Department, who shared a message by Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, Commissioner for Social Affairs of the African Union Commission. Mr. Patrick Dlamini, Chief Executive Officer of the Development Bank of Southern Africa concluded the events proceeding by doing the vote of thanks.

A ceremony of awards was the main highlight of the Night.
The recipients of the awards were Professor George Okello Abungu, Mr Joseph Alan King and Mr Lazare Eloundou-Assomo for their outstanding contribution to Capacity Building on the African continent. The founding Board Members of the African World Heritage Fund were also awarded for their contribution. The recipients included Mr. Themba Wakashe (South Africa), Professor Olabiyi Yai (Benin), Professor Shadia Kenaway (Egypt), Professor Michael Omolewa (Nigeria), H. E. Ms Noma Sibanda-Thusi (South Africa), Professor Mohammed S Sheya (Tanzania) and Dr Dawson Munjeri (Zimbabwe). Finally, three States Parties were recognized for their outstanding achievements in self-conducted nomination process i.e. Kenya, Namibia and Cote d’ Ivoire.

10th Anniversary Booklet

The aim of the AWHF 10th year Anniversary booklet is to introduce to the public the various works of the Fund and share, through various testimonies, the journey since the organisation was launched in 2006. Many activities to promote the conservation and management of African World heritage sites have been initiated by the AWHF over the years which many institutions have benefited from. It is only fitting through the publication to acknowledge those institutions who have partnered with the Fund to help create awareness and to publicize its efforts.
The 10th Anniversary publication provides highlights of programmes which contribute significantly to the mission of peace building, capacity building, poverty eradication and sustainable development on the continent. Copies of the publication will be distributed throughout the year of the AWHF 10th Anniversary Celebration events.


Click below for the AWHF calendar of events


The AWHF 10th Year Anniversary Events are organized in close association with

African World Heritage Fund 10th Year Small