Challenges of San Basilio de Palenque Discover Cartagena By Locals

Challenges of San Basilio de Palenque to preserve African culture for more than 400 years

On the Caribbean coast of Cartagena, Colombia lies a one-of-a-kind cultural treasure: San Basilio de Palenque. Founded by freed African slaves more than four centuries ago, this historic enclave is a beacon of African heritage in Latin America. However, despite its rich history and heritage, San Basilio de Palenque has faced a number of challenges in achieving the preservation of its African culture for more than 400 years. From the impact of globalization to the pressure for urban development growth, challenges that raise questions about the future of this ancestral community.

1. Preservation of the Language and Oral Traditions

One of the most pressing and important challenges facing San Basilio de Palenque is the preservation of its language, Palenquero, and its rich oral traditions. As new generations are increasingly exposed to the influence of the world, of Spanish, English and global media, there is a great risk that the palenquero will be lost over time and seek new opportunities. That is why it is essential to implement educational and cultural strategies to foster linguistic pride and promote the intergenerational transmission of oral traditions.

2. Protection of Architectural and Cultural Heritage

The second challenge lies in protecting the architectural and cultural heritage of San Basilio de Palenque and facing urbanization and urban expansion. Colonial buildings, historic plazas and cultural sites are living witnesses of the community’s history and must be cared for, protected and preserved for future generations. Clear and effective conservation policies are needed, executed in conjunction with sustainable development programs that balance the needs of the community with the protection of its cultural heritage.

3. Promotion of Responsible Cultural Tourism

Although tourism is an important source of income for San Basilio de Palenque, it also poses challenges in terms of cultural preservation, sustainable development and more local support. It is essential to promote responsible cultural tourism in all aspects, which respects local traditions, encourages community participation and contributes to the economic well-being of the community. Something that requires the implementation of measures to avoid cultural exploitation and ensure that tourism genuinely benefits the local population..

4. Strengthening Cultural Institutions

To meet the challenges in preserving African culture, San Basilio de Palenque must strengthen its cultural and community institutions. Which includes support for local organizations dedicated to the promotion of art, music, dance and all traditional cultural expressions. It is important to empower the community to be guardians of its own cultural heritage, so that it can ensure continuity, sustainability and vitality over time.

Despite the challenges it faces, San Basilio de Palenque continues to be a great pillar of African heritage in Latin America. His story of resistance, resilience and cultural preservation is a living testament to the human capacity to keep the flame of identity and tradition alive throughout the centuries. By addressing these challenges with determination and collaboration, Saint Basil of Palenque can ensure that his African culture endures for many years to come, enriching not only his own community, but also the world.


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