Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Uganda’s Nyero rock paintings threatened by Weather and Vandalism

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Nyero rock paintings , Uganda

Future generations risk losing Nyero Rock, a tourist destination in Ngora District, to vandalism and adverse weather conditions that have ruined the archeological paintings.
The three-tiered rock shelter, famous for its ancient paintings on its inner surfaces, is believed to date as far back as the Iron Age.

Ms Rose Ntale Mwanja, the commissioner of museums and monuments in the Ministry of Tourism, said the fading of the paintings was because of exposure to ultraviolet rays from sunlight and rainfall.
These form algae around the paintings, a process the government has tried to stop for a while but cannot because of the rules governing the preservation of the monuments.

“We tried to put cement to stop rain water from dripping onto the paintings at the two sites but we are now consulting with somebody to see if we can work without the cement,” Ms Mwanja said by telephone yesterday.
However, she said the site at Obuin in Soroti District was still intact because it is in a dark room, adding that the government had discovered another 56 paintings in the region.

“We have discovered other sites in Mukongoro, Komuge Kakoro, Kapir, Paliisa and idolwe Island in Namayingo District, which we have proposed to the United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organisation (Unesco) to be listed as world heritage sites as we embark on developing our rock art trail,” she said.
When contacted for a comment, both Ms Agnes Akiror, the State Minister for Tourism and Mr Augustine Omare Okurut, the secretary general of Unesco, confirmed the developments.

“We are trying to educate the communities to appreciate these natural sites to conserve them for tourism and encourage our own children to invest and develop them,” Ms Akiror said. “I brought this to the attention of Kumi District local administration sometime back but I do not think they took it seriously,” Mr Omare said.
He said so far, Uganda has only the Kasubi Tombs, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mt. Rwenzori among the world heritage sites.

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