Myth as Metaphors: Understanding Narratives in Sustaining sacred landscapes in Zimbabwe and Australia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This paper argues that sustainability of heritage is not only based on the conservation work and other interventions that we carry out at heritage places, or in providing for communities that live near it. Sustainability is not only a physical effort but part of an ideology of the mind which is, in turn, is sustained through a ‘metaphor network’, understood only by those who value and have a different understanding of the heritage places. Heritage practitioners cannot ‘preserve’ what is in the mind, and there is a need to understand how communities create a domain in which the physical and the abstract cannot be differentiated. The research attempts to deconstruct the cultural landscape and to understand how certain landscapes are sustainable, while others which may have the same values are neglected and therefore unsustainable. The paper argues that these myths and legends are in fact metaphors that communities use to empower the landscape to protect itself from desecration and remain sustainable. In this paper three World Heritage sites (two in Zimbabwe – Khami and Great Zimbabwe; and one in Australia – Uluru or Ayers’ Rock) are used to show how sites can acquire a personality but once that ‘personality’ is affected the landscape may become unsustainable and therefore difficult to preserve.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArchives, Objects, Places and Landscapes
Subtitle of host publicationMultidisciplinary approaches to Decolonised Zimbabwean pasts
EditorsMunyaradzi Manyanga, Shadreck Chirikure
Place of PublicationBameda
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)995-764-19-1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

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