International Day for Monuments and Sites

April 18th is International Day for Monuments and Sites, also popularly known as World Heritage Day. To celebrate this day, GoUNESCO, a UNESCO New Delhi supported online challenge, is planning a social media campaign of epic scale to bring heritage and world heritage into focus and needs your help in order to make this a worldwide effort. The idea is to highlight world heritage sites in every country between 17th and 19th April and make this trend across the world.

To join this campaign, all you have to do is post the following message on your Facebook wall or Twitter between 17th and 19th April!

“In celebration of World Heritage Day on 18th April, I am posting my photo(s) from a World Heritage Site that I have been to. Please help raise the awareness of heritage sites protection by copy pasting this status on your wall along with your picture(s) at the world heritage site. Let’s encourage the World to appreciate these legacies of mankind, at least for one day in a year! #gounesco #worldheritage #saheritage.”

In South Africa we have vast heritage including several World Heritage sites list below:

  • iSimangaliso Wetland Park
  • Cape Floral Region Protected Areas
  • Robben Island
  • uKhahlamba / Drakensberg Park
  • Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape
  • Vredefort Dome
  • Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape

With the long weekends coming up let us South Africans join in the fun and help raise awareness of heritage sites in South Africa. If you cannot get to World Heritage site then visit national, local or provincial heritage site in South Africa. Copy and Paste the message above on Facebook or Twitter along with your photo and tag it. #gounesco  #worldheritage  #saheritage.

A World Heritage site is defined as a site that is either natural, manmade or structure which has outstanding universal value that is recognized as being of international importance.  The Cape Floral Region Protected Areas is natural heritage which has international importance since it is a biodiversity hotspot that supports a large number different species. The Fynbos forms part of the Floral Kingdom, known as Cape Flora Kingdom. It is the both the smallest and the richest floral kingdom, with the highest known concentration of plant species. It also is the home for many small mammals, insects, reptiles and amphibians, although many of the species living there are both endemic and threatened, therefore fynbos is protecting these species .These Cape Floral Region Protected Areas consist of diversity of flora and fauna, and many of these species are endemic to this ecosystem and there is only one of its kind in the world making these site World Heritage site.

A National Heritage site defined as site that has national importance to cultural heritage or history of that country like South Africa. The South African Heritage Resource Agency is the government agency who is mandated to evaluate these sites and register them as National Heritage sites. Shipwrecks which are 60 years or older are automatically graded as national heritage site which. An exception to this case would be the SAS Pietermaritzburg; the ship was built in 1940 and led the D-Day invasion of Normandy. She was later sold to the South African Navy and on 12 November 1994 she was scuttled. In August 2013 she was declared a South African National Heritage Site. World Heritage Sites have universal value while National Heritage Sites are of national significance, either because they are unique or relate to an important aspect of our history.

These heritage sites were probably not what you were excepting, plants and shipwrecks but heritage is something may it be intangible or tangible that is passed down from previous generations. It is a very broad definition but value and significance differ. Yours grandparents stories may be of great value to you but this oral heritage might have no international or national significance therefore not national or world heritage.

Now that you know the difference between national and world heritage site there is no excuse not to go at least visit one heritage site this long weekend in South Africa. Do not forget to tag and upload your photo to Facebook or Twitter.  #gounesco  #worldheritage  #saheritage.