Globalisation And African Cultural Heritage Erosion: Implications For Policy
Globalisation has had both negative and positive impact on the cultural heritage development and preservation in Africa. However, this article argues that African countries need not necessarily be disadvantaged by the unfolding globalisation process if they adopt developmental policies that are rooted in their own cultural heritage, including African Indigenous Knowledge Systems. They need to develop their own models of cultural and artistic development that are accessible and affordable to their local communities. African governments need to take their cultural heritage resources seriously as one of the domain in which they can remain competitive in the globalising world and contribute to “global civilisation”. This is based on the worldwide increasing global realisation that culture constitutes a fundamental dimension of the development process. It helps to strengthen the independence, sovereignty and identity of nations. Moreover, economic growth and development have frequently been conceived in quantitative terms, without taking into consideration their necessary qualitative dimensions, i.e. the satisfaction of man\'s spiritual and cultural aspirations. African scholars and heritage managers should push to make sustainable utilization of IKS for sustainable development the next global agenda after information technology. They need to maintain a delicate balance by thinking globally in an era when science and technology have shortened distance and united cultures, while at the same time stimulating the development of national and local agendas in relation to cultural and IKS policies. It is important that African countries first cooperate among themselves. This cooperation can only be meaningful if it begins with what is already there, i.e. in the form of existing traditions and customs, associated knowledge systems and technologies, arts and crafts. Through proper analysis and planning, these indigenous cultural potentialities could be revived and adapted to the demands of present day science and technology for sustainable development and local community livelihoods.
Keywords: Globalisation, sustainable development, local communities, cultural heritage, science and technology.
Indilinga Vol. 7 (2) 2008: pp. 141-153