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Matobo Hills gets recognition from American Express


THE Matobo Hills cultural landscape has been chosen as one of the eight beneficiaries of the $1 million set aside by the American Express Awards-funded World Monuments Watch towards the preservation of international heritage sites.


On Tuesday, the New York-based American Express Awards said Matopos had been selected because of its unique rock artwork which was under threat from deforestation.
Matobo cultural landscape is home to one of the world’s greatest rock art collections, marks critical stages in human history and evolution, reaching back 100 000 years.

The World Monuments Watch said Matobo’s rock art is now threatened by deforestation, veld fires, and other human activities, adding that the funds would be used to work with local heritage authorities on improved documentation and conservation plans at the site.

“As the founding sponsor of the World Monuments Watch, American Express is committed to advocating for the protection of our most treasured landmarks around the globe,” Timothy McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation is quoted as saying.

American Express − a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success – has in the past 20 years donated nearly $18 million towards preservation of 166 World Monuments Watch sites in 71 countries.

The World Monuments Watch works with local communities to preserve and market cultural heritage sites to the international community.

“We recognise these sites as symbols of national and local identity and value the role that their preservation can play in attracting visitors and revitalising communities,” McClimon added.

Other beneficiaries of the $1 million funding include Potager du Roi in Versailles (France), Grand Theatre of Prince Kung’s Mansion in Beijing (China), the town of Amatrice (Italy), Kagawa Prefectural Gymnasium in Takamatsu (Japan) Tebaida Leonesa in León (Spain), Blackpool Piers in Blackpool (England) and Monte Albán Archaeological Site in Oaxaca (Mexico).

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