This book focuses on a forgotten place—the Khami World Heritage site in Zimbabwe. It examines how professionally ascribed values and conservation priorities affect the cultural landscape when there is a disjuncture between local community and national interests, and explores the epistemic violence that often accompanied colonial heritage management and archaeology in southern Africa. The central premise is that the history of the modern Zimbabwe nation, in terms of what is officially remembered and celebrated, inevitably determines how that past is managed. It is about how places are experienced and remembered through narratives and how the loss of this heritage memory may mark the un-inheriting of place.
Memory and Cultural Landscape at the Khami World Heritage Site, Zimbabwe is informed by the author’s experience of living near and working at Great Zimbabwe and Khami as an archaeologist, and uses archives and traditional narratives to build a biography for this lost cultural landscape. Whereas Great Zimbabwe is a resource for the state’s contentious narrative of unity, and a tool for cultural activism among communities whose cultural rights are denied through the nationalisation and globalisation heritage, at Khami, which has lost its historical gravity, there is only silence.
Researchers and students of cultural heritage will find this book a much-needed case study on heritage, identity, community and landscape from an African perspective.