April 20, 2023
The United States Embassy, the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ), and the World Monuments Fund celebrate the completion of the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) restoration project to preserve the structural and historic integrity of the Great Zimbabwe National Monument and World Heritage Site. The $475,000 project represents the U.S Embassy’s largest singular investment towards cultural heritage preservation in Zimbabwe. Through the AFCP, the United States demonstrates its commitment to the preservation of cultural heritage around the world, including in Zimbabwe.
Speaking during the project completion ceremony at the iconic monument, U.S Chargé d’Affaires Elaine French congratulated local and international actors for the work and partnership to preserve and protect Zimbabwe’s cultural heritage at Great Zimbabwe.
“The project promoted skills development as an important intervention to build current and future capacities for heritage site management. The preservation guidelines from the project for drystone walls will benefit conservancy work in other heritage sites in Zimbabwe and beyond,” said Chargé d’Affaires French.
The project was implemented by the World Monuments Fund with support from NMMZ and involvement of Great Zimbabwe University, Lupane State University, Midlands State University and Bindura University of Science Education. The collaboration promoted skills development as way to build current and future capacities for heritage site management.
The government of Zimbabwe expressed appreciation to the U.S government and all the partners involved in the project. The Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Honorable Ezra Chadzamira, described the project as “a welcome initiative that also speak volumes of the excellent relations that exist between the Zimbabwe and the United States Government.”
Representing local leadership, Chief Mugabe (Matubede Mudavanhu) applauded this project and further underscored the need to integrate modern and traditional knowledge systems in site preservation efforts.
The major activities completed during this project include a drystone conservation manual, a sustainable plan to control the invasive weed, lantana camara, which threatens monument structures, reconstruction of the collapsed walls, installation of an electronic monitoring system, and skills transfer to the local university students and lecturers on drystone masonry and best practices in heritage preservation.
Through the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, the American people have invested over US$760,000 over the past 15 years towards the documentation, conservation, and restoration of key heritage sites and artifacts in Zimbabwe