Saturday, September 18, 2021
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Our legacy, our unique adventure

Elizabeth
Duve Dziva
Most people have
probably heard or read about cultural heritage but just brushed it aside as one
of those old-fashioned topics which are of little or no importance in the
process of making money.
As a matter of fact,
the subject of cultural heritage plays a pivotal role in politics, society and
even in the economy hence the idea of ‘making money’ encompassed. Literally,
cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes
of a people that is inherited over generations.
It is not a new word in
our vocabulary, not even in our everyday life yet it is so sad that we do not
notice it either because of ignorance or reluctance. Consequently if something
is not done, our Zimbabwean cultural heritage faces the threat of extinction.
Today, because of
aspects like enculturation and the seemingly busy and modern lifestyle that
almost everyone wants to adopt, it is almost impossible for people to discuss the
subject in question at family level or even at gatherings. Yet it is an essential
aspect which makes one’s life complete.
Even more heartbreaking
is to note that the present generation disregards the essence of cultural
heritage claiming it is outdated and does not have ‘swag’ (modern charisma).
This perspective is even worsened by the new churches that have sprouted
everywhere like mushrooms and their ‘Papas’ (self-proclaimed prophets) that
denounce almost everything cultural as demonic yet they claim to groom and raise
great people.
What they do not
understand is that questions of identity, meaning of cultural heritage,
language and religion are like a hand and glove. They are closely-related hence
the need for the present generation to treat the subject with the importance it
deserves.
We say thumbs up to the
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education for introducing the New Curriculum
which encompasses such subjects as heritage and cultural studies. Hopefully, the
Ministry is going to consider making the subjects core since they are equally
important or even carry more value than all others declared and recommended as
core subjects in the curriculum (subject for another day).
All the same, it is
disappointing that this generation seems to value and work towards the achievement
of academic qualifications on paper rather than practically applying the
acquired theoretical knowledge. They learn and study to pass but do not put the
learnt ideas into practice. The late Vice President Simon Mzenda once said
Zimbabwe needed to be a nation of thinkers and doers, a nation of people who
integrate ideas and action. The impact of separating oneself from cultural
heritage goes directly to the heart that pumps life in us, it is impossible for
one to live life to the fullest without cultural heritage.
For our generation to
appreciate and accept cultural heritage, it is essential to start by defining
cultural heritage and make individuals understand what it is and how we have
been benefactors of our cultural heritage yet victims of our cultural
narrowness.We might think it takes a sophisticated and skilled academia to identify,
define and perpetuate cultural heritage, yet we see, touch and benefit from it
everyday.
Join me next week, on
the journey to define and identify the tangible and intangible Zimbabwean
cultural heritage
The writer is an
Archaeological and Cultural Heritage practitioner. The views expressed in this
article are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not
necessarily represent the views of any organization.  Email: duveelizabeth@gmail.com

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