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Kasane readies for UNESCO cultural heritage meet

19 Nov 2023

Over 800 delegates from 194 UN member states are expected to attend the UNESCO 18th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) to be held at the Wild View Resort in Kasane from December 4-9.

The opening ceremony is scheduled for December 3.

Preparations for the event are ongoing and this past week, a Cabinet delegation led by Minister of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture, Mr Tumiso Rakgare, visited Kasane where they met with Chobe District leadership and the business community to inspect tourism and hospitality facilities and apprise committees on progress made.

In his address, Mr Rakgare said the UNESCO assembly was an opportunity for Botswana to display the best values to the world and reaffirm her status as a destination of choice.

He said the global meet was also a priority for Botswana, emphasising  the need for Batswana especially Chobe district residents to be actively involved in the planning stages.

He highlighted that such meetings required a display of international standard in all aspects from food, accommodation, transport, hospitality, patriotism and most importantly an exhibition of the rich Botswana culture that was admired by the world.

“We are the custodians of our country hence we need to be punctual, observe the best etiquette and be alive as we host the world,” Mr Rakgare said.

For her part, Minister of Environment and Tourism, Ms Philda Kereng said safeguarding of cultural heritage was vital, particularly the intangible culture that could face extinction if not preserved.

Ms Kereng said preserving culture could be achieved through documenting it in writing for future generations, recordings for archives as well as knowledge transfer.

She said ICH was diverse encompassing traditions, performing arts, rituals and folkdance as well as sacred rituals.

She added that Chobe District had its own intangible cultural heritage story to tell through Seperu folkdance that was listed by UNESCO as ICH in 2019.

Hosting of international events, she said was in line with Botswana’s Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Exhibition (MICE) strategy which promoted sustainable development from leveraging quality events that injected profits into the value chain.

“We want to see our small enterprises, cultural groups, transport sector and every tourism and hospitality businesses in Kasane stand out and reap the benefits of hosting this meeting,” she said.

She further said Kasane was a strategic destination for conferences sitting at a quadripoint which presented a rare opportunity for delegates to explore four countries at once.

She said safety and security of visitors should be a priority due to Kasane being a wildlife infested area.

Ms Kereng therefore called on all security organs to be on the alert and apply best safety measures. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Portia Ikgopoleng

Location : KASANE

Event : UNESCO 18th session of the Intergovernmental Committee

Date : 19 Nov 2023