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Mapungubwe

South Africa's treasured World Heritage Site - Mapungubwe, is under severe threat. An Australian company, Coal of Africa Limited (CoAL) has recently been given the go ahead to begin construction of an opencast and underground coal mine. This short series of films was developed by greenrenaissance.co.za for the Save Mapungubwe Coalition - savemapungubwe.org.za

  1. Mining will Offend our Ancestors

    Save Mapungubwe
    savemapungubwe.org.za
    facebook.com/SaveMapungubwe
    greenrenaissance.co.za

    Vele “Christopher” Neluvhalani believes that on a fundamental level that people have always been connected to the earth, visible by the traces they leave behind, like the ancient rock art on the sandstone outcrops in Mapungubwe.

    Neluvhalani feels a deep connection to this ancient place, because his ancestors lived there thousands of years before him. He is bound to the area not only by tradition, but when he visits there and climbs to the top of Mapungubwe hill, he feels he has returned home.

    However, the recent announcement that authorisation has been given to an Australian mining company called CoAL to construct an open-cast mine just outside of the boundaries of the park will change all this. This is because Neluvhalani believes that “it would be an offence to our ancestors to start mining in the area.”

    Neluvhalani was involved in the reburying of his ancestors’ remains at Mapungubwe, after they were recently reclaimed back from a museum collection and restored to their rightful place- a place that will be disturbed if mining is to go ahead.

    “Once we tamper with Mapungubwe we will be tampering with the past,” says Neluvhalani, who feels that the ties we have to our ancient places like Mapungubwe compel us to prevent them from being compromised, and that “everyone in South Africa should be united to help preserve Mapungubwe”.

    For more info on the film production go to - greenrenaissance.co.za
    For info on these timelapses contact - jonncarr@gmail.com

  2. Mining will Destroy Life's Balance

    savemapungubwe.org.za
    facebook.com/SaveMapungubwe
    greenrenaissance.co.za

    Vanessa Bristow is well acquainted with the traces that ancient life has left behind. She feels that at Mapungubwe there is an overwhelming sense of “enormous history, and evidence of how time has “carved its way” through the landscape.

    However, the recent announcement that authorisation has been given to an Australian company called CoAL to construct an open-cast mine just outside of the boundaries of this conservation area will affect this fragile natural harmony. To Bristow, without these pristine wilderness areas, “the world would be a much sadder place.”

    Bristow, like many others, believes that Mapungubwe should be preserved and protected from infrastructural development, and allowed to remain pristine for future generations to come, because as she says, “if we lose this battle, there’s nothing left, for anybody.”

    For more info on the film production go to - greenrenaissance.co.za

    For info on these timelapses contact - jonncarr@gmail.com

  3. World Heritage Threatened - Mapungubwe

    Our natural heritage is important to consider, especially as issues like industrial pollution and environmental degradation are threatening the status of some of our most treasured national resources- places like Mapungubwe.

    Mapungubwe is a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, and extends into the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area. This culturally sacred place therefore has significance not only for us South Africans, but also for our neighbours across the border in Zimbabwe and Botswana.

    This timelapse video was created to encapsulate so much of what is so special about Mapungubwe, the wide-open spaces, the pristine environment and the culturally important landmarks that have held significance for countless generations before us.

    It is therefore important that these resources are maintained for all of us to share, and that places like Mapungubwe are preserved for future generations- because the granting of a coal mining license will not only affect the nature of our national park but also the future of our national heritage.

    For more information go to:

    savemapungubwe.org.za
    facebook.com/SaveMapungubwe
    greenrenaissance.co.za

  4. Mapungubwe Belongs to all of Us

    Abraham Ramonwana, head guide at Tuli Safari Lodge says: “if a mine develops in South Africa, it’s also going to affect Botswana and Zimbabwe”.

    The authorisation given to an Australian company called Coal of Africa Limited (CoAL) to construct an open-cast coal mine, called the Vele Colliery, just outside of the boundaries of the Mapungubwe National Park will affect this fragile natural harmony. To Abraham, "mining and industry is a short term plan, tourism is a long-term plan."

    Abraham, like many others, believes that the Mapungubwe region should be preserved and protected from the impacts of infrastructural development, and allowed to remain pristine for generations to come.

    Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site is managed by South African National Parks (SANParks) and its partners. The Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area is being developed based on the stipulations of a Memorandum of Understanding between Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe that was signed on 22 June 2006. These are officially mandated programmes in which the South African government, the province and private sector have invested. With the official opening of the Mapungubwe National Park on 24 September 2004, the first of three national objectives for the region was reached. The other two objectives were the area’s listing as a World Heritage Site, which happened in 2003, and the establishment of a Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA).

    TFCAs promote conservation and the sustainable use of biological and cultural resources, while also furthering goals of regional peace, co-operation and socio-economic development. Both Transfrontier Parks and Transfrontier Conservation Areas aim to provide jobs and opportunities for revenue generation to local people. By so improving the lives of rural communities it is hoped that they will in turn contribute to biodiversity conservation and demonstrate the economic and social advantages that can be achieved through conservation. This vision of cross-border collaboration realises the Southern African Development Community’s objective of promoting synergy for economic, social and conservation benefit over the subcontinent.

    TFCAs contribute to the broader aims of trans-boundary ecosystem management, integration of conservation with development, promotion of regional cooperation and socio-economic development on the southern African sub-continent, while also forming an important part of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

    The Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area has become recognised as the ‘cultural TFCA’. Visitors flock to the area not only to see the magnificent sandstone formations, the wide variety of trees – notably the enormous baobab – and game and birdlife, but also to experience a kinship with past generations. The cultural resources of the Limpopo-Shashe basin are associated with Iron Age settlements of around 1200 AD. The similarity of ivory objects, pottery remains and imported glass beads excavated at different sites spread across the modern international borders of Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, attests to the cultural affinity of the people that lived in the Limpopo-Shashe basin during the Iron Age.

    The Mapungubwe World Heritage Site is a major attraction in the 30 000 ha park and was home to the famous Golden Rhino, a symbol of the power of the King of the Mapungubwe people who inhabited the Limpopo River Valley between 900 AD and 1300 AD. At that time Mapungubwe had developed into the largest kingdom on the subcontinent. It is believed that a highly sophisticated civilisation, which traded with Arabia, Egypt, India and China, existed at Mapungubwe.

    The presence of heavy industry in the Mapungubwe area will impact enormously on its tourism and conservation, to such a degree that these activities will have to be reconsidered for the future. South Africa signed a binding document whereby it agreed to be a partner in a trilateral conservation development. By allowing that same conservation area to become part of an industrial area, it is not adhering to the spirit of that agreement.

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