May 5th is African World Heritage Day

Due to COVID-19, 90% of World Heritage sites around the globe are closed or partially closed, and many of them are in Africa. As African World Heritage sites cope with the current situation, they are also looking ahead to the post-Covid time and planning for the short and long-term. The 2020 edition of African World Heritage Day will celebrate the theme “Youth, Entrepreneurship and Heritage Sustainability in Africa” with several special initiatives.

A Webinar/Zoom conference with the African World Heritage Fund

This online debate will bring together young people, policy makers, site managers, and members of the local community to reflect on the impact of COVID-19 on the lives and livelihoods of African communities and heritage sites. Over 200 participants from Africa and around the world will discuss strategies to build resilience and overcome the crisis while ensuring the sustainability of World Heritage in Africa.

To participate:

To watch the webinar:

An Instagram Live session with student and climate activist Vanessa Nakaté

Vanessa started a climate movement in Uganda with her individual strike in January 2019, to oppose the passivity of governments in the face of climate change. In January 2020, she and other youth climate activists from around the world publicly requested participants at the World Economic Forum in Davos to call on companies, banks and governments to immediately stop subsidizing fossil fuels.

To watch the session:

An Instagram Live session with Pascall Taruvinga, Site Manager of Robben Island, South Africa

Used at various times as a prison, a hospital and a military base, Robben Island is a symbol of the triumph of democracy and freedom over oppression and racism. Join the conversation at this historic site with the Chief Heritage office of the Robben Island World Heritage site to share experience and reflection on how heritage as part of culture should be mobilized or promoted in a period of a disaster such as Covid-19 pandemic.

To watch the session:


Learn more about World Heritage sites in Africa, and how they’re coping with the COVID-19 crisis:

  • Timbuktu, Mali
  • Kilimanjaro National Park, United Republic of Tanzania
  • Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela, Ethiopia
  • Memphis and its Necropolis, the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur, Egypt
  • Cidade Velha, Historic Centre of Ribeira Grande, Cabo Verde
  • Ecosystem and Relict Cultural Landscape of Lopé-Okanda, Gabon
  • Medina of Fez, Morocco

See full information on this African World Heritage Day and read the message from UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay here.