On 5th May, the Mali Committee of the Blue Shield celebrated African World Heritage Day in Gao by taking a group of young people to the site of the 15th Century Tomb of Askia. As Mamadou Samaké, President of the Malian BS National Committee and Head of the Cultural Mission of Gao, in charge of the administration of the Tomb of Askia noted, it was a special occasion for many of them.
It was on 16 November 2015 during the 38th Session of the General Conference of UNESCO that the 5th May was adopted as African World Heritage Day. In a news release to mark the occasion, UNESCO noted that Africa’s heritage
Celebrating at the Tomb of Askia for the International Day of African World Heritage, 05 May 2023. © Blue Shield Mali
Such aspirations are endorsed by the Mali Blue Shield who, together with its heritage partners and the authorities, hope to build on young people’s interest and curiosity about their past in the months and years to come. Amongst other plans they intend to work with a group of young cineastes to make documentaries about Mali’s cultural heritage, especially in Gao.
There could be no better place to start than the Tomb of Askia, one of four World Heritage sites in Mali, built when Gao became the capital of the Songhai Empire, after Askia Mohamed had returned from Mecca and made Islam the official religion of the empire.
Watch the video of the celebrations on Sahel TV
(via Facebook – Facebook log on required in some countries)