Ashanti traditional buildings: a heritage to cherish
Accra, 21st May 2021 – Under the framework of the Sankofa Support Project for Higher Education and Research in Heritage and Tourism in Ghana, the French Embassy in Ghana, in collaboration with the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB), the network of French “Grand Sites” and UNESCO, has organized a workshop on the integrated management of heritage sites through the exemple of Asante Traditional Buildings (ATBs) in Ejisu-Kumasi from 18th to 20th May 2021.
The onsite workshop enabled to assess the actions already undertaken and to jointly run a prospective reflection on the regulatory principles and frameworks, based on this case study. The main issues discussed are the following:
- Values as a guiding principle of dialogue around heritage sites;
- Integrated Management of a Heritage Site and involvement of different state and non-state stakeholders in Ghana and compared to foreign experience in France and Burkina-Faso.;
- Challenges of governance and management of heritage sites and links with the legal framework;
- Developing sustainable tourism while involving local stakeholders;
- A roadmap towards the conservation and management for the Asante Traditional Buildings (ATB’s), cooperation and resource mobilization to safeguard the sites.
The Ghana Museums and Monuments Board is the legal custodian of Ghana’s material cultural heritage. The Board operates under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and has direct oversight over the management and preservation of the ten (10) Asante Traditional Buildings which represent a once thriving community that created remarkable earthen structures that were highly decorated and characterized the cultural, religious, and artistic values of the local community.
The exceptional value of these buildings being rare surviving examples of a significant traditional architectural style, that of the influential, powerful and wealthy Asante kingdom was recognized by the World Heritage Committee and the properties were subsequently, inscribed in 1980 under Criteria (v) of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.
On Friday 21st of May 2021, recommendations and roadmap discussed during the 3-days workshop were taken to the political level at the French Ambassador’s Residence in Accra for a larger audience including the public institutions, such as the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and stakeholders that could not be present to the workshop in Kumasi. The session was also the occasion to announce the republication of a booklet on the Asante Traditional Buildings to educate the general public and growing number of tourists to the sites.
On Tuesday, May 25, 2021, H.E. Anne Sophie AVÉ, Ambassador of France to Ghana launched a 3-days Museum Curators workshop at the Alliance Française Accra. This workshop was also organized under the Sankofa project of the French Embassy and in collaboration with Musée d’Aquitaine, Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB), and Ghana Heritage Conservation Trust (GHCT).
It was moderated by two museum curators from Musée d’Aquitaine, France, Mrs Katia KUKAWKA and Mrs Marion Blanchet. The participants included members from museums and foundations in the Upper West, Greater Accra, Volta, Ashanti and Western regions in Ghana. The workshop aimed at enhancing the skills of Ghanaian curators towards curation of exhibition, museums cooperation and financing.