The new Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Gladys Kokorwe, launched the International Museum day at the Botswana National Museum, on Friday.
Speaking on the day that was themed ‘Museums as Agents of Social Change and Development’, Minister Kokorwe said, “This year’s commemoration coincides with the Museum’s own important events such as the Heritage Month in July and the National Museums Fortieth Anniversary in October.”
She also officially launched two partnership initiatives by the National Museum, Adopt a Monument strategy and Friends of the Museum Society. Kokorwe said the day was an opportunity for the Botswana National Museum to reflect on its role and relevance to issues of national development.
“It is intended that these initiatives,” she said, “would act as vehicles towards economic diversification.”
The Lekhubu Trust, based in Mmatshumo Village and Tsodilo World Heritage Site, were given as examples, where, through partnerships in Lekhubu Trust with HIVOS and the European Development Fund, the community managed to raise P318 511 through camping and entrance fees between April and December 2007.
De Beers were also recognised for sponsoring a project to investigate the existence of new caves found in the Gcwihaba and Koanaka areas in the North West of Botswana. The objective of the project was to identify and document any new caves found for scientific analysis. Over a period of 3 years, De Beers has spent about P3 million on the project.
Presentations where given on both the Adopt A Monument and Friends of the Museum campaigns. Some of the sites up for adoption are the Tswapong Hills, Lentswe La Baratani, Tsodilo, Mamuno, Matsieng and Lowe. The Museum is soliciting partnerships with Non-Governmental Organization, the business community and members of the public to preserve the heritage sites.
Some of the sites are facing the threat of being negatively affected by the developments occurring in their vicinity. It is said that, with the help of partners, the sites could be developed into tourist destinations, generating income in the local communities.
During the presentation for Friends of the Museum Society, a brief history of the society was revealed that it was established in 1979 and registered in 1980 as a non-profit making organisation. Some of the main functions of the Society are to assist with the development of the Museum and in all its facets by raising awareness about its services. People who are willing to act on a voluntary and non-remunerative basis make up the Friends of the Museum Society.