Monday, January 17, 2022

US government helps preserve Khama III Memorial Museum and Bessie Head archives

The United States (US) government has funded the Khama III Memorial Museum and the Bessie Head archives in Serowe as part of its efforts to preserve cultural heritage in the country.

Through the embassy’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, the US has provided a grant of $78 000 equivalent to P710 000 towards this project. The project is expected to help preserve a number of the Khama Family manuscripts and Bessie Head literature collections.

Speaking in an interview with The Telegraph on Monday, the Information Specialist at the US Embassy, Laone Segaetsho said that funding of these projects is part of a larger US government program to support the preservation of cultural sites, cultural projects and forms of traditional cultural expression in more than 100 countries around the world.

He revealed that from 2001 up to now, the US government has invested over $200 000 in Botswana translating to P1.2 million into these kinds of projects.

“This project will be launched by the US Charge de Affiars, Michael Murphy on the 16th of October 2014 in Serowe. The funds will help preserve the archives as well as revamp the building that houses the archives and extend the library to create a reading room,” he said.

Segaetsho said that the archives are very valuable as they are of historical, cultural and literary significance. He said that by preserving them, the museum can create a legacy that will benefit the future generations by helping them to understand the post-colonial period in Botswana and the region as a whole.

“With the reading room and proper archiving, the historic documents will be more accessible, It will strengthen academic research, It will help increase tourism, create jobs and help to diversify the economy,” he said.

Segaetsho said that some of the sites that have already benefited from this initiative include the restoration of the Old Palapye Church, the preservation of San Artifacts, the Kuru Cultural Centre in D’kar, training in preservation of ancient rock art sites in Gaborone and the Tsodidlo Hills.

“Last year the embassy also provided support to the national museum’s leather conservation project to preserve almost 500 artifacts,” he said.

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