Makerere Hill, off Bativa road, Kampala | +256 (0) 393 294 675/7
Makerere Hill, off Bativa road, Kampala | +256 (0) 393 294 675/7

CCFU engages media actors in an experiential learning on heritage

From 20th to 21st June 2024, CCFU engaged media editors and journalists in an experiential learning on cultural heritage promotion. The objective of this engagement was twofold; (a) to deepen the editors’ and journalists’ appreciation of the notion of cultural rights and cultural heritage in relation to media through interactions with heritage practitioners and field experiences, and (b) to explore ways in which the media (specifically the editors) can support and promote cultural heritage reporting as relevant and topical.

Editors and media actors involved were drawn from various media houses including Vision Group (The New Vision), Next Media Services (Nile Post), Nation Media Group (Daily Monitor and KFM), Baba FM, Delta TV, Area Code 256, BBS Terefayina and The Observer.

The experiential visit took place in Kampala and Jinja. Specifically, Ewaffe Cultural Village, the Uganda Railway Museum, Busaino Fruits and Herbs, Jinja City Council and Jinja Secondary School heritage club were visited.

Exploring the cultural rights and heritage landscape in Uganda and beyond.

After welcome remarks by Barbra Babweteera, Executive Director, the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU), Fredrick Nsibambi, CCFU, introduced the participants to a general presentation on culture and heritage. The presentation focused on discussing the domains of heritage, existing tangible and intangible elements of heritage, the related international and national legal framework, the institutions mandated to promote culture in Uganda and beyond, the value of heritage and associated threats. A presentation on cultural rights was also made.

An interesting discussion on cultural controversies (aspects of culture that are often contested and in most cases considered negative by some sections of society) ensued. Examples of Female Genital Mutilation, widow inheritance, Bride Price, Imbalu among the Bagisu, Imbalu, among others were discussed.

Field visits to cultural heritage sites and the Jinja City Council

The field visits were organized to provide media actors with a hands-on opportunity to engage with heritage practitioners and immerse themselves in Uganda’s diverse heritage. On the first day, participants visited the Ewaffe Cultural Village, where they enjoyed traditional cuisines, explored the herbal garden, and learned how an individual passionate about heritage is leveraging it for cultural tourism. The day concluded with a trip to the Uganda Railway Museum in Jinja, a collaborative project of CCFU and the Uganda Railways Corporation. During a guided tour and interactions with museum managers, the media actors gained insights into the practical role of community museums in promoting and developing heritage, as well as witnessing the restoration of a historical building to maintain its relevance in modern times.

Day 2 began with a visit to a successful traditional medicine practitioner in Wanyange, Jinja, where a historical building was also included in the tour. The day continued with visits to the Cultural Research Centre and the school heritage club at Jinja SS to understand the connections in heritage promotion and youth involvement. An engaging interaction between the heritage club members and media actors took place, culminating in a traditional music performance by the heritage club.

To delve into the role of government institutions in heritage promotion, participants met with Shamim Namugundho, the Tourism Officer of Jinja City Council. Following the city visit, media actors suggested the establishment of Jinja City Museum and the development of an ordinance to safeguard the city’s heritage. The Tourism Officer highlighted key tourism sites in the city and encouraged media actors to promote them.

Background to CCFU’s work on engaging the media in heritage promotion

Since 2021, CCFU has engaged media actors through training events to support their reporting on the notions of cultural rights and heritage, and in some cases facilitated media personnel with mini grants to develop stories related to various themes on cultural heritage promotion.

Previous engagements have been conducted at national level and in regions, and have been attended by mostly field reporters and journalists, with a minimal focus on editors. Notable facilitators, including Dr. Jimmy Spire Ssentongo from Makerere University, Charles Odoobo Bichachi from Nation Media Group, Bernard Tabaire from the African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) and CCFU have been involved.