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  • Titill er á ensku Marine and underwater cultural heritage management, Robben Island, Cape Town, South Africa : current state and future opportunities
  • Meistara
  • Útdráttur er á ensku

    Defined as “all traces of human existence having a cultural, historical or archaeological character which have been partially or totally under water” by UNESCO, Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH) sites are often critical for the understanding of local and international history. Increasing interest in UCH calls for more effective solutions to management challenges. These sites can be seen as common assets, with great potential for knowledge sharing and public enjoyment. Robben Island, South Africa, and its surrounding waters appear to provide great potential for UCH preservation and research. Indeed, at least 22 ships were lost around the Island during the period 1694-1976. The Island is renowned for being home to the high security prison during the Apartheid era where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison. After the democratization of South Africa, the Island became a symbol, leading to its inscription in 1999 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS). The boundaries of the WHS included the former one nautical mile security perimeter. But despite great potential, no mention of the cultural richness of the nautical zone can be found in the WHS designation. This research aims at clarifying the management status of the UCH while investigating opportunities for sustainable use. Data collection techniques included a literature and policy review, two semi-structured interviews and a series of personal communications.
    Findings showed a clear lack of incorporation of the UCH sites in WHS management by Robben Island Museum (RIM). This has potentially led to deterioration of sites. Results also showed that the nautical area shows great potential for academic and tourism opportunities if challenges are addressed properly. The presence of these sites could be enhanced by the establishment of a shipwreck trail, both on land and underwater. It is recommended that further attention be given to UCH sites by RIM. Further investigation into sustainable use of sites could reveal great addition in the visitor experience combined with economic benefits. Improved relations between the management structure and the academic community would be welcomed for increased knowledge.

  • 26.8.2014

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