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American Express Monuments Program:
Historic Sites in Zimbabwe and Uganda


The World Monuments Fund created the world Monuments Watch in 1995 on the occasion of the organization 's 30th anniversary. The program solicits nominations from the ministries of culture around the world, from all United States embassies, from international, national and local preservation groups, and from American Express offices worldwide. The nomination process is also open to individual citizens as a means of encouraging private activism. An independent panel of international experts in architecture, travel, archaeology, conservation, and related fields selects sites for inclusion in the biennial World Monuments Watch Lists of 100 Most Endangered Sites.

Khani National Monument receives funding from American Express for immediate preservation efforts. Local landmark is one of 17 worldwide selected for 1997 grand awards as part of World Monuments Watch program

BULAWAYO, ZIMBABWE: American Express Company and the World Monuments Fund announced that the Khama National Monument will receive $50,000 as one of17 sites selected for funding by American Express in the second round of grants awarded under the World Monuments Watch program and its 1996-1997 List of 100 Most Endangered sites. The "endangered species list" of historic sites world-wide is issued every two years by the World Monuments Fund to draw attention to irreplaceable cultural heritage sites in immediate peril.

World Cities Preservation Web Site: http://www.nthp.org/

The World Monuments Fund, based in New York City, is the only private, non profit organization that sponsors worldwide preservation activities.As founding sponsor of the World Monuments Watch, American Express has committed $5 million to the Watch program over a five year period, with grants in 1997 totaling $950 million. These grants are made throughWorld Monuments Fund. The 35 hectares of the Khama National Monument encompass the remainsof the ancient city of the Great Zimbabwe type, the most important city of the 250 known sites between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers.

Great Zimbabwe flourished as a center of trade between the 13th and 15th centuries. Remains, including Chinese and Portuguese porcelain, attest to the city's extensive international trade contacts. One wall of the Precipe Ruin at Khama is the longest decorated wall in Zimbabwe. Today, portions of many structures remain but they are threatened by a nearby dam. The terrain is unstable and the walls have cracked, bulged and in some case collapsed.

Burrowing animals and trespassers foraging forfirewood and building stone are further destabilizing the site. In order to preserve the Monument for the future, a strategic conservation plan and restoration of parts of the sites are needed. The award to the Khami National Monument will be used to start the rescue work. According to Dawson Munjeri, Executive Director of National Museums and Monumentsof Zimbabwe, "This project is very significant to the preservation of Zimbabwe's proud history and brings awareness of the importance of conservation efforts at the country''s other heritage sites."

The award was made to the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe by Lhab Zaghloul, American Express Regional Manager, in a ceremony heldat the Khami National Monument in the presence of Dumiso Dabengwa,Minister of Home Affairs. Commenting on the donation, Mr. Zaghloul said, " American Express, as one of the foremost providers of travel related services, has long recognized the importance of preserving the world's historic sites and monuments. They are prime motivators for travel around the globe, and are critical to the quality of life in communities and nations. The restoration of the Khami National Monument is representative of American Express's dedication to Zimbabwe, its culture, history, and future"

Zimbabwe, Khami National Monument, Bulawayo. Photo: National Museum and Monument.
For further information on the Khami National Monument, please contact: Dawson Munjeri in Harare, Zimbabwe- 263.4.752.876, fax 263.4.753.085.


Local Landmark is one of 19 sites worldwide selected for 1998 grand awards as part of World Monuments Watch program

KAMPALA, UGANDA: American Express Company and the World Monuments fund announced that the Masaka Cathedral in Kitovu Village will receive $25,000 as one of 19 sites selected for funding by American Express in the third round of grants awarded under the world Monuments Watch program and is list of 100 Most endangered Sites. The 'endangered species list" of historic sites worldwide is issued every two years by the World Monuments Fund to draw attention to irreplaceable cultural heritage sites in immediate peril. Brother Flora Martin first designed and built the Masaka Diocesan Cathedral in 1927. It became the cathedral of the first African Catholic Bishop from Sub-Sahara Africa when Dr. Joseph Kiwanuka served as Bishop of the diocese from 1939 to 1961. Because of this appointment, the cathedral also became the first autonomous African church within the Catholic community, standing as the dominant cultural force as well as the preeminent religious shrine of all of Uganda. Today, however, harsh weather conditions, earthquake, the simple construction materials used, and the lack of maintenance, brought the church to a dire state of deterioration Emergency technical assistance provided by this grant will serve to remove and replace the entire roof, as well as other architectural elements, contributing to the vulnerability of the structure.

The award was made to the Diocese of Masaka, by Ihab Zaghoul, American Express Regional Manager, in a ceremony held at the Masaka Cathedral in Kitovu. Commenting on the donation, Mr. Zaghoul said," The presence of the Masaka Cathedral on the World Monuments Watch List of Most Endangered Sites, tells us that if we do not act quickly to save it, the cathedral, with its religious and cultural treasures, will not be here for future generations to enjoy. We believe that the preservation of the world's great monuments and sites is essential to the well-being of our communities."

"And because they are key motivators for travel," continued Mr. Zaghoul, "we also believe that monuments and sites are essential to the future of travel and tourism, an industry in which American Express is a world leader and has a vital state. That is why we are so committed to World Monuments Watch and we are proud to be the partner of the world Monuments Fund in this initiative."

The Masaka Cathedral was included on the 1998-1999 list of 100 Moist Endangered Sites. So far over $8 million has been committed to aid sites on the Lists. This amount includes $3 Million in grants from American Express and $5 million leveraged from other corporations, foundations and individuals, as a result of the World Monuments Watch.

Other African sites on the 1998-1999 List are the Royal Palaces of Abomey, Benin; the Mortuary Temple of King Alumenhotep III IN Luxor, Egypt; the Mentewab Qwesqwam Palace in Gondar, Ethiopia; and James Island, the Gambia. The second list was announced in September 1997 and a third list will be announced at the end of 1999.

Uganda, Masaka Cathedral prior to restoration, '97. Photo. Diocese of MasakaMali, Djenné-Djeno Archaeological Site, Djenné. Photo R. McintoshDetails: For further information on the Masaka Cathedral project please contact: Fr. Peter Bakka in Masaka, Kitovu, Uganda.- 256.481.20008, fax 256.481.20732.

Further details: Martha Flach, New York, NY, USA212-517-9376, fax 212-517.9494
James Tobin, London, UK. 44-171-976-4540, fax 44-171-931-0433
or e-mail Africa Travel Magazine at:

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