Zamani Project – University of Cape Town
Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations – Aga Khan University, London
Exhibition curators and organizers
Professor Stephane Pradines and Professor (emeritus) Dr. Heinz Rüther
The Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations and the Zamani Project at the University of Cape Town are pleased to present the online exhibition “Black Monuments Matter”.
Black Monuments Matter recognises and highlights African contributions to world history by exhibiting World Heritage Monuments and architectural treasures from Sub-Saharan Africa.
In doing so, this exhibition sweeps away ideas based on racist theories and hopes to contribute to both awareness of African identity and pride of African Heritage. The exhibition is inspired by the “Black History Month” in the United Kingdom.
Black monuments matter and Black cultures matter. Sites and monuments are physical representations of histories, heritage, and developments in society. This exhibition aims to display the diversity and richness of African cultures as part of world history through the study of African Monuments; bringing awareness and pride of African roots and contributions to other cultures.
African cultures suffered extensively from slavery from the 16th to the 19th Century, and during the acceleration of European colonisation through the 19th and early 20th Century. Black Monuments Matter aspires to create links to living African heritage by making it visible, assessable, and known to as many people as possible.
In general, we would like to raise awareness of and respect towards Black cultures and Africa’s past to a larger audience. At the Aga Khan University, the University of Cape Town and the Zamani Project, we believe in the relevance and knowledge of cultures, and the importance of education towards its understanding and appreciation.
Through an approach founded on the latest knowledge and technology, this online exhibition offers visitors an opportunity to learn more about the glorious monuments and sites of African heritage and black cultures across Sub Saharan Africa.
The African continent has numerous sites and monuments of historic and cultural importance, and our exhibition showcases some of its diversity and richness. From the Pyramids of Sudan, the Great Mosque of Timbuktu, to the Swahili cities of East Africa, each site is presented in a virtual room and is introduced by short texts written by African scholars.
Many of Africa’s monuments are protected by UNESCO and have been given world heritage status. They are also protected and supported by national heritage authorities and by the support of international organisations such as the World Monument Fund and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
Our hope is that visitors to this exhibition will recognise and support the work of national and international organisations committed to the support of African heritage.
All the documentation presented in the exhibition are the result of many years of dedicated work by the Zamani team from the University of Cape Town in South Africa.