Experiencing heritage through encountering people from different cultures (Italy, Kenya, Mozambique and Uganda)
We discovered Uganda’s Kasubi Tomb in Kampala, the Kenyan Fort Jesus in Mombasa, the Italian site of paleochristian monuments in Ravenna and the wonderful Ilha de Moçambique in less than one hour.
History, culture and emotion stand out for every site, even if every site has its own specific characteristics.
Ilha de Moçambique is unique for its traditions: women’s beauty and typical dresses, fishing activity, presence of a mix of cultures and religions.
The Kasubi Tomb in Kampala is a representation of Buganda kingship and it keeps alive identity and beliefs of buganda people, who are very proud of it.
The monument is made with local material and following traditional architecture techniques.
The byzantine mosaics in the churches of Ravenna embody both the artistic and religious aspects of a cultural mix.
It defines at the same time the identity of the local people and Italian history in general.
The site of Fort Jesus in Mombasa symbolizes the history and the emotional struggle of the injustice of slavery.
It stands for a mix of cultural values, common memory, natural beauty and spiritual healing for people.
This weekend, the summer school participants visited the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Ticino.
On Saturday, the group visited Monte San Giorgio, a natural site and one of the most important fossil deposit in the world, with pieces from the Middle Triassic, between 247 and 236 millions of years ago. The group was guided through the Monte San Giorgio Fossils Museum through the very ancient story of the Ticino territory.
On Sunday, the group visited the Bellinzona Castles and the Museum of Castel Grande, revisiting the story of the territory in the Middle Ages, when its control was disputed between Swiss and Italian supremacies.
In our evaluation, on the basis of the interviews, we found that there were certain common aspects identified in the heritage experience of people from different cultures (Africa: Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda, and Europe: Italy, Greece). The historical and cultural values were the most common elements appreciated in all sites, whereas other elements were less frequent or almost unique. The sense of belonging to a community and pride (all sites) were linked with history, site conservation, and anthropological values (Sassi of Matera, Kasubi tombs), and distinctly opposite from impressions that arose from mentions of colonial and foreign influences (African sites). Individuals appreciated the juxtaposition of the past with the modern fabric (Sassi of Matera, Isle of Mozambique, Acropolis of Athens), but also identified sites as tourist attractions (linked with fun, recreation, and food). Our interpretation is that the observed differences were due to different cultural backgrounds and due to differences in the type/characteristics of the sites. We consider education (exposure to religion/belief systems) to be the originator of the common elements of the reported experiences, whereas personal histories and local cultures are likely to have given rise to the less frequent and unique reports.