Malian Tomb of Askia Celebrates African World Heritage Day

Malian Tomb of Askia Celebrates African World Heritage Day

Group of African people stood in front the Tomb Of Askia, caption reads "Mission culturelle Gao en collaboration avec l'association le bouclier Bleu
African World Heritage Day at the Tomb of Askia, 5 May 2024 - Blog Sahel TV

On 5th May, the Mali Committee of the Blue Shield celebrated African World Heritage Day in Gao by taking a school group to the site of the 15th Century Tomb of Askia.  Mamadou Samaké, President of Blue Shield Mali, is the Site Manager , and the visit was carried out in partnership with the National Committee. 

It was a fantastic experience for the children, and a wonderful way to raise awareness about the importance of the site. The event was featured on several African TV stations. The Blue Shield Committee 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. 

They have a saying in Mali…

Connaître la science, connaître l'art est mieux mais connaître soi-même est encore mieux
Know science, knowing art is better, knowing yourself is even better

Mamadou Samaké, President of Blue Shield Mali, and Site Manager for the Tomb Of Askia was delighted by the visit. He explained how the visit to the site is very important from a historical, sociological and technical point of view, as it allows young people to be informed about the history of the Songhoy empire and the Sahel, living together during this period, as well as the skills and the knowledge of the architectures working in this traditional form.

Visiting a monument like the Tomb of Askia is extremely important for young people.

blue shield with a red border round it on a stand by a mudbrick wall

The Tomb of Askia, one of four World Heritage sites in Mali, was 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. Today is it one of the most protected sites in the world: it is registered on the International List of Cultural Property Under Enhanced Protection, according to the Second Protocol (1999) to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954). This important international legislation protects cultural heritage of the greatest importance for humanity during armed conflict.

Left: Enhanced protection plaque at the Tomb of Askia (c) Blue Shield Mali


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