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Reading: A strategy to alleviate poverty in the Matobo Hills World Heritage Site of Zimbabwe.


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Research Article

A strategy to alleviate poverty in the Matobo Hills World Heritage Site of Zimbabwe.


Tendai Fortune Muringa ,

Midlands State University, ZW
About Tendai
Lecturer at Midlands State University. Research interest in heritage studies, cultural anthropology and sustainable development.
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Paul Mupira,

National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe, ZW
About Paul
Interest in archaeology of farming communities in Zimbabwe, management of cultural landscapes and community participation in heritage management.
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William Lungisani Chigidi

Midlands State University, ZW
About William
Interest in language, literature and cultural studies
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World Heritage Sites (WHSs) are places of outstanding universal significance with a crucial role to perform in sustainable development (SD) particularly the aspect of eradicating poverty. As such WHSs are not only meant to serve global interests in tourism and conservation but have an additional mandate to meet the social and economic needs of local communities wallowing in poverty. Matobo Hills World Heritage Site (WHS) in south western Zimbabwe has potential to promote the SD Goal 1 which seeks to eradicate poverty in all its forms and dimensions by 2030. The idea of eradicating poverty is noble and in line with the global SD Agenda but the question is on whether WHSs are able to fulfil this function. This paper assesses the possibilities and challenges of eradicating poverty in local communities around Matobo Hills WHS. It analyses the social and economic opportunities that Matobo Hills WHS presents and if at all these suffice to eradicate or ameliorate poverty. This research established that it is challenging for WHSs to eradicate poverty in its entirety in a community and in a nation. The multidimensional nature of poverty presents a wide array of aspects that include the socio-cultural, economic, political and environmental aspects of human life which cannot be adequately addressed through use of a single WHS. As a result, the need to sustain the physical landscape of Matobo Hills WHS takes precedence over fulfilling the international obligations to eradicate poverty in its entirety. This paper therefore recommends that generalisations made at a global scale need to be weighed in at national and local levels to ascertain how much heritage can offer to the people in relation to eradicating poverty in Zimbabwe. This would ensure that efforts to alleviate poverty are realistically placed within the capacity of a given WHS.
How to Cite: Muringa, T.F., Mupira, P. and Chigidi, W.L., 2022. A strategy to alleviate poverty in the Matobo Hills World Heritage Site of Zimbabwe.. Journal of African Cultural Heritage Studies, 3(1), pp.52–79. DOI:
Published on 24 May 2022.
Peer Reviewed


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