Communication strategies used in preserving Zambia's cultural Identity: A case study of National Heritage Conservation Commission
Indala, Nalisa Kennedy
MetadataShow full item record
Communication is a tool and a vehicle where humans interact through patterns, meaning and behaviour. And as humans transit patterns, meaning and behaviour which consequently is their culture, a culture with effective communication channels and strategies in its social system dominantly transmits or cultivates its dominant patterns, meaning and behaviour more than less dominant cultures. Subsequently, this culture becomes the main mode of transmitting patterns, meaning and behaviour. Therefore, for Zambia to use communication as a vehicle to preserve its cultural heritage and identity there is need to establish effective and appropriate communication channels and strategies. While the extended family system served as a platform for the young generation to interact with elderly people to share information on cultural heritage and identity, modernisation and globalisation have disabled this interpersonal communication (Mwizenge 2014, pp. 18-20). This is so because globalisation has continued to be a platform as well as a catalyst for cultural globalisation. And with globalisation as the major player in dictating patterns of interaction, meaning and behaviour, even when the government of Zambia has formulated a National Cultural Policy which seeks to promote cultural identity and heritage; artistic, intellectual- creation and art education; culture and development; and international cultural cooperation (Chanda 2010, p.19), it is not fully known whether organisations like National Heritage Conservation Commission (NHCC) mandated by the government to preserve Zambia's cultural heritage and identity have aggressive countering messages as well as effective and appropriate communication channels and strategies to be engines for preservation.The purpose of the study was to investigate NHCC's communication channels and strategies in preserving Zambia's cultural heritage and identity as well as their effectiveness and appropriateness in order to preserve and sustain Zambia’s cultural heritage. Specifically, the study investigated access to cultural heritage and identity information and type of access, NHCC's key messages and their relevance to preservation, NHCC's communication channels and strategies, and their effectiveness and appropriateness. Also, the study investigated Zambian citizens’ knowledge of holistic culture and its’ overlapping tendencies, and their knowledge about Zambia’s cultural heritage and identity as well as their attitudes towards preserving it. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used, a combination of in-depth interviews, structured respondent questionnaires was used as well as participant observation and secondary data review. The study established that NHCC and other cultural organisations are not so accessible to the residents: Many respondents have access to cultural information via T.V. And the findings also revealed that cultural information learnt on T.V was not from NHCC because NHCC haddiscontinued its T.V programme entitled "The heritage trail" years ago due to financial limitations. The study showed that the absence of adequate financial injection has disabled the functioning of a number of NHCC departments as well as implementation of planned activities. Furthermore, the study established that there is a glaring knowledge gap on culture and its holistic interactions with other elements of the social system. Reflectively, among the 11 respondents who were able to identify NHCC, five (5) could not state at least cultural heritage resources found in Zambia. Also, even when one of the communication objectives of NHCC endeavours to arrive at sustainability of Heritage resources, there is a knowledge gap among respondents on the interplay or interdependence of culture and sustainable development. Conclusively, the findings have established that in an atmosphere where government financial injection is inadequate, and when dealing with a population equally with financial limitations, the communication channels and strategies NHCC uses are not so effective and appropriate: Only eleven (11) respondents out of hundred 100 are aware of the existence of NHCC. This is translated to imply that not only is community participation low, cardinal for sustainable heritage resource management, but that NHCC's educational, publicity and marketing strategies and channels need redress to align with low cost financial input.