Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 15.COM 8.B.12

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Zambia has nominated Budima dance (no. 01567) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The Budima Dance is a warrior dance performed all year round by the Wee people on a number of sombre and spiritual occasions, especially during traditional ceremonies, funeral processions, weddings, initiation ceremonies, the installation of chiefs, thanksgiving, harvest celebrations and ritual activities. The dance is performed with spears, whistles, walking sticks, knobkerries, flutes, ceremonial axes, shields, horns/trumpets, drums and rattles. The performance includes men, women and children: the men represent skilled soldiers or fighters with long spears jumping up and down while running in and out of the inner circle of dangers, flourishing their spears in mimic of war, while others blow the sets of one-note antelope horn flutes/trumpets and shout chants. Others play big and small drums. The women – adorned in beaded necklaces and bangles, with rattles on their feet – sing along and dance energetically. The related knowledge and skills are transmitted to young people through observation and their participation in the dance. Young people are also taught about the importance of the dance, how to perform it, and how to make some of the instruments during initiation ceremonies. The Budima dance serves as a unifying factor for the communities concerned, who take great pride in the dance and can join in with the dancers at any point during the performance.

  1. Considers that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.1:   The element is clearly defined, including in relation to the communities concerned (primarily the Wee, a branch of the Tonga ethnic group), its geographical situation, its evolution, its transmission through observation and (open) participation, and its functions, which have dynamically evolved over time and according to the context. Information related to the social functions and cultural meanings of the element is included in the file; it is performed all year round for entertainment purposes, on social and spiritual occasions and during traditional ceremonies and ritual activities. The element serves a unifying role for people from different communities. The knowledge and skills of the Budima Dance are mostly transmitted to young people through observation and participation in the dance when it is being performed as there is no restriction on who can participate.

R.2:   The file focuses both on the question of the visibility of the element at different levels and its evolution over time and on the more general question of how its inscription would contribute to ensuring the visibility of intangible cultural heritage in general. For example, this would be achieved through improvements to community inventorying and a greater appreciation of other elements of living heritage. With regards to dialogue, the file makes a connection between the unifying character of the dance, strengthening pride and cultural identity and enhancing togetherness and dialogue.

R.3:   The file describes at length the general implementation of the Convention in the national context (capacity building, university training on intangible cultural heritage, inventorying). The State Party has demonstrated that both the local communities and the State itself have supported the dance and safeguarded its viability. The safeguarding measures include training for dance groups, capacity-building workshops, awareness-raising programmes, community-based inventorying as well as supporting the production of related materials, strengthening the structure of existing dance groups and creating youth dance groups in schools. The nomination demonstrates the government’s support for the proposed measures and their implementation. It also describes the local custodians’ involvement in developing and implementing the safeguarding measures.

R.4:   The communities concerned were actively involved in the preparation of the Budima Dance nomination. Prior to obtaining the consents, visits were made to the three chiefs and their communities to explain their role in the implementation of the Convention in relation to the safeguarding of their cultural practices, as well as the importance of nominating an element to the Representative List. The participation and consent of the communities concerned were well prepared and adapted to the context in question; this was well described both in the file and through the film and consent documents provided. The partially limited access to the element is also clearly explained.

R.5:   The element is included in the National Inventory and in several provincial/district inventories. It was included in these inventories between 2015 and 2018. The nomination states that the communities concerned, supported by the traditional leadership, identified the Budima Dance as an element of Zambian intangible cultural heritage that deserves to be safeguarded, working in collaboration with the Choma District Cultural Affairs Officer. Together with the National Intangible Cultural Heritage committee, the Ministry of Tourism and Arts, Department of Arts and Culture prepares quarterly reviews of individual inventories and annual updates of the National Inventory Register.

  1. Decides to inscribe Budima dance on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;

  2. Invites the State Party to concentrate on more tailored measures aimed at safeguarding the element itself rather than on the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage in general;

  3. Encourages the State Party, when submitting nomination files in the future, to avoid using questionnaires to collect the prior, free and informed consent of the communities, groups and individuals concerned.