One of the world’s best-known, highly respected and influential heritage professionals from Africa has left us. His professional brilliance inspired many young professionals throughout the world. He championed and ensured that the heritage of Africa and its voice was heard and respected in the face of the many international conventions largely biased towards Western heritage practice. 

He was instrumental in many areas of the heritage field, carrying out capacity building in intangible and tangible heritage worldwide. As a pan-Africanist, his work went beyond his country Zimbabwe. He ensured that African professionals understood the international dynamics of heritage, and that as Africans, they too, had a part in sharing, commemorating and celebrating continent’s heritage.  

In Zimbabwe, under his leadership he introduced effective management systems at the National Museums and Monuments, where he was the Executive Director. It was under his stewardship that the first Master Plan for Cultural Resources Conservation and Development was made. Under his guidance, all the World Heritage sites in Zimbabwe also had some planning frameworks. Even the current heritage management framework at Great Zimbabwe, Khami and Matobo cultural landscape are guided by the community beneficiation philosophy, which Prof Munjeri has been advocating for in the past decades. 

Prof Munjeri was an outstanding heritage professional and teacher, with successive generations of heritage professionals having passed through his hands. He was a top scholar, whose publications straddled many related disciplines such as oral history, archival science, museology and heritage management. His influences at the international level are reflected in the current Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention and the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. He tried to ensure that Africa’s voice and concerns were reflected. 

At both the country and international level, Munjeri has championed the centrality of heritage in the sustainable development of Africa and the world. His efforts will sadly be missed, but his work will continue to greatly influence heritage philosophy and professional practice forever. 

He has taught the belief that our heritage is our pride, and a driver and enabler for socio-economic transformation. While his passing is a huge loss to the family, country, region and the world, he left an indelible mark on society. The Heritage fraternity has lost a father figure and a truly professional person. 

Webber Ndoro 

Former ICCROM Director-General