Emily Drani, the Executive Director of Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda-CCFU says that the recognition is aimed at efforts to preserve historical properties, endangered dialects and customs as well as the threatened part of our knowledge and traditions as a family, community or nation.
Emily Drani, the Executive Director of Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda-CCFU says that the recognition is aimed at efforts to preserve historical properties, endangered dialects and customs, as well as the threatened part of our knowledge and traditions as a family, community or nation.
She adds that the awards will cover persons with built, tangible and intangible heritage sites who will be nominated by members of the general public and vetted by a jury.
The UN cultural agency UNESCO classifies tangible heritage as buildings and historic places, monuments, and artifacts which are considered worthy of preservation for the future. They include objects significant to the archaeology, architecture, science or technology of a specific culture.
Intangible heritage on the other hand includes but is not limited to traditional festivals, oral traditions, oral epics, customs, ways of life and traditional crafts. It has become one of the priorities of UNESCO in the cultural domain.
The first edition of the awards was held three years ago. In the 2013 National Heritage Awards, the Berghani family was awarded for the restoration of the historic Masindi Hotel. The Ham Mukasa family was also recognized for preserving the family house and properties.
Ugandan poet, playwright and novelist Prof Austin Bukenya also got an intangible heritage award in recognition of his outstanding work on promoting orature, a coinage from oral literature. The art of bark cloth making and the colonial history of Soroti e also featured during the last edition of the awards.
The awards come at a time when cultural activists are pushing for the consideration of culture in Uganda's development processes.
According to Prof Peter Kanyandago, a leading cultural academic, there can be no meaningful development without culture, adding that all aspects of development, including preservation of the environment, have cultural links.
Prof Kanyandago argues that long before colonialism, Africans had a way of dealing with societal challenges, which unfortunately have been swept aside in the name of modernity and civilization.