Piece by Elena Lisa on “La Stampa” of Apri 29th, 2014 (The original piece is available here).
This story is remarkably uncommon. Wandi Kasibe is a kid who lives in Cape Town, South Africa. He can’t forget Turin and one of its citizen in particular. His nostalgia is so deep that he posted a video on youtube. The first viewers of this video, astonished, were his Italian professors. Those teaching the UNESCO master he attended four years earlier. The master, that was a cooperation among the University of Turin, the Polytechnic University of Turin and the International Training Center of the World Trade Organization, ITC-ILO (the one and only center of the United Nations that educate its students on how to act on human rights and international trade laws) was founded by Walter Santagata. Kasibe still can’t forget his professor of Cultural Economics and Financial Sciences.
He educated and accepted him, he says in the video where he wears a Panama hat and a fair shirt, and in the background are visible the Table Mountains. But also because he taught him the idea that, nowadays, can be heard everywhere: culture is something one can live on, culture is a way for the social and the economic development.
Mandela Museum together with Santagata planned a project about a museums’ network in South Africa and a new exhibition of Robben Island, the island where Nelson Mandela had been imprisoned. Wandi Kasibe, thanks to the Master, is now a cultural creator and a video-maker. His images on Youtube are proof. But why did the African kid decide to post a video after four years? In few days, Professor Santagata, who had really wanted to create the master “World Heritage and Cultural Projects for Development” will be celebrated by his colleagues and his former colleagues.
Walter Santagata passed away last year after a heart attack. His ideas persist. “Innovative and precursor ideas”, says Giovanna Segre, professor at IUAV University of Venice and Santagata’s first collaborator. He saw an economic and social power in culture. He also left his facility research named after his daughter where local development through the promotion of cultural resources is studied. Innovative theories that became guidelines for many developing countries.
“I remember when he focused on gastronomy” says Enrico Bertacchini, researcher of the Department of Economics, “when he explained, and he was the first to do so, that to protect foods and beverages meant to protect a community. And when he said that culture is not only preservation but also innovation and development.” Lessons and human relationships that interlace in class rooms but rarely they deserve a mention “in memory of” from other side of the world.
Wandi Kasibe video is available here.