18 May 2019

Uganda: App Makes It Easy to Explore Uganda's Heritage

The Cross Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU), and the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities celebrated this year's African World Heritage Day on May 5 with the launch of a mobile phone app titled "Uganda's Built Heritage" that maps historical building and sites in Kampala, Jinja and Entebbe.

The mobile phone app is available on both Android and iPhone. The content features at least 60 buildings, representing Uganda's architectural history, covering pre-colonial era and post-Independence Uganda.

The app was a culmination of a year-long mapping collaboration project with the European Union to mark the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018. The app, has annotated maps of historical buildings and sites for each of the three cities and a book titled "Beyond the Reeds and Bricks: Historical Sites and Buildings in Kampala, Jinja and Entebbe."

The products were presented to the CCFU at a ceremony at the European Union Delegation to Uganda offices in Kampala recently.

CCFU's executive director Emily Drani said: "The availability of these maps, the book and the mobile app will trigger public interest in preserving and promoting the historical buildings and sites as an important aspects of the history, identity and heritage of our communities, cities and of Uganda as a country."

The organisation has also called for the establishment and enforcement of ordinances to protect and promote historical properties in the country.

The app is expected to make it easier for tourists and other interested people to get crucial information on Uganda's architectural heritage which is currently under threat from developers. Loss of historical buildings and sites means a lost connection with the past, and a loss of unique features for Ugandan cities. Each building has a history, that is in turn connected to the country's history.

The collaboration identified the historical buildings and sites and during the project, European experts worked with their Ugandan counterparts to document, research and photograph.

Divided into eight chapters, the book combines beautiful photographs of over 60 notable historical locations, accompanied by a narrative that sets the locations in their historical, social and political contexts and highlights why they still matter today.

The project objective is to identify and preserve the buildings and thus boost national pride. The maps also include an overview of the cities and their history.

PDF versions of the maps are also available for downloading free of charge from the CCFU website, www.crossculturalfoundation.or.ug.

The African World Heritage Day is a Unesco recognised day for people around the world, and particularly Africans, to celebrate the continent's unique cultural and heritage.

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