Running a photogrammetry workshop in preparation for the second phase of fieldwork

Northern Mozambique Project – Geophysical Survey Overview

Marine Cultural Heritage in Norther Mozambique – Wes Forsythe

Our Rising from the Depths project in northern Mozambique has been concerned with understanding the natural environment as a context for marine and underwater cultural heritage. A large dataset of geophysical survey results captured around Mozambique Island (Ilha de Mozambique) allows for new insights and features to emerge demonstrating the long history of sea-level change and its relevance for today’s communities in the context of climate change. In this blog we provide some of the first imagery derived from the survey work, which was conducted with colleagues from Centro de Arquelogia Investigção e Recursos da Ilha de Moçambique (CAIRIM) and the local community in Mozambique Island and marine heritage practitioners from the region.

Global sea level was -120m to -130m lower than present at the height of the last Ice Age (roughly 20,000 years ago) because vast quantities of ocean water were locked up in ice sheets. The coastal landscape inhabited by prehistoric people was therefore very different to today. Away from the large continental ice sheets the fall in sea level exposed large tracts of land, allowing rivers to cut across what is now the continental shelf and pushing coastlines out towards the shelf edge. Over time, global climate warmed, the ice melted and sea level rose. These landscapes, and any archaeological evidence they contained, were flooded and now lie on, or buried under the seabed.

Previous studies in Southeast Africa have identified remnants of these submerged landscapes. These types of evidence have been found off the KwaZulu Natal coast of South Africa and as far north as Maputo in southern Mozambique. The evidence includes former shoreline complexes, incised valleys and their sedimentary fills and shallow water/lagoonal sediments found at depth on the continental shelf.  The resulting evidence has also been used to provide insights into the timing, pattern and rate of the post-Ice Age sea-level rise. However, elsewhere on the East African coast, investigations of submerged landscapes and sea-level change are few and far between. The new evidence from northern Mozambique therefore represents a step towards filling this gap.

Consequently, the main aim of the December 2019 marine geophysical survey of Mozambique Island was to see if we could find any evidence of past sea level in this area. We chose to focus on two main areas. Firstly, the outer edge of the shelf fronting the Baie de Mozambique. Secondly, the channels which form the bay’s deeper entrances and allow access to the shallow waters behind the Island [1]. By using both multibeam echosounder (MBES) and sub-bottom profiler (SBP), we hoped to capture the geomorphic expression of relict landforms exposed on the seabed as well as features and stratigraphy which are currently buried under the seabed. The acquired data are still being analysed, but even so, a preliminary examination has been able to identify a number of features of geological and archaeological interest.

1_Moz_correc[1] The survey area at Ilha de Mozambique. Red lines indicate location of SBP data shown in subsequent figures.

[1] The survey area at Ilha de Mozambique. Red lines indicate location of SBP data shown in subsequent figures.

Our main area of MBES survey covered the outer shelf fronting the Baie, an area of ~13km2. The resulting Digital Elevation Model (DEM) has a spatial resolution of up to 1m and shows a steep shelf which descends from ~-20m at the Baie entrance to almost -200m within a kilometre offshore. Several features of interest are visible on the MBES, the clearest being a narrow channel cut into the seabed between the Ile de Goa and Ile de Sena. At face value, this seems to provide a great example of a former river valley which was incised when sea level was lower [2]. Also apparent on the MBES are several submerged breaks in slope. The clearest one forms a distinct cliff line both north and south of the incised channel (but is absent in front of the channel). Where the base of the cliff is clearly visible, its depth is at ~-65m. At least two other low ridges/breaks in slope occur landward of the cliff line at depths of ~-35m to -40m. It is presently unclear whether these features represent former palaeo-shorelines. The depth of the submerged cliff line superficially matches palaeo-shoreline complexes (-60m) from KwaZulu Natal, but further analysis is needed to conform this. Fortunately, there was also enough time (and budget!) to acquire smaller patches of MBES around the northern end of the Ilha. These give glimpses of the inner parts of the Baie showing in particular the deeply incised nature of the channel between the Ilha and the mainland [3]. These data also captured some of the historic shipwrecks which are known to lie here and which will be the subject of future blog posts.

 

[2] Potential submerged landscape features visible on the offshore part of the MBES data

[2] Potential submerged landscape features visible on the offshore part of the MBES data

[3] Detail from the inner Baie de Mozambique showing the main channel to the NE of the Ilha

[3] Detail from the inner Baie de Mozambique showing the main channel to the NE of the Ilha

 

Meanwhile, SBP acquisition was arranged to give a series of profiles running offshore from the coast to the shelf edge and across and along the channels. These were sited to establish the wider stratigraphic sequence and provide targeted data over the channels which could demonstrate how they responded to sea-level change. Starting with the outer shelf, the SBP profiles clearly show that the channel visible on the MBES is actually incised to a considerable depth below the seabed and was later infilled [4]. In fact, the SBP data also show that it extends seaward of its surface expression as a completely infilled valley. The SBP data also confirmed the existence of the distinct cliff line on the outer shelf, and also suggests that its base is buried, and in some cases there may also be a deeper buried break in slope at ~-92m [5]. In the outer part of the Baie, channels are also clearly visible on the SBP data, incised below the seabed and subsequently infilled [6]. In all cases, the nature of these infills requires further analysis. Other potential features of interest include terraces cut into the flanks of the channels and secondary channels paralleling the main channel [6]. Finally, the stratigraphy becomes more complex in the inner part of the Baie behind the Ilha. Whilst the seabed surface appears to be relatively undulating, the SBP results show a more rugged, buried topography. These include high points with an acoustic character suggestive of reefs and basins which have been infilled by horizontal or gently-dipping layers sediment, possibly suggestive of deposition in lagoonal or sheltered water conditions.

 

[4] Buried palaeo-channel cut c.78m into the seabed. Top image shows uninterpreted SBP data, bottom images shows data with interpreted features indicated.

[4] Buried palaeo-channel cut c.78m into the seabed. Top image shows uninterpreted SBP data, bottom images shows data with interpreted features indicated.

[5] The underwater cliff line and suggestion of a buried deeper break in slope. Top image shows uninterpreted SBP data, bottom images shows data with interpreted features indicated.

[5] The underwater cliff line and suggestion of a buried deeper break in slope. Top image shows uninterpreted SBP data, bottom images shows data with interpreted features indicated.

[6] Buried channels in the outer Bay with secondary features. Top image shows uninterpreted SBP data, bottom images shows data with interpreted features indicated.

[6] Buried channels in the outer Bay with secondary features. Top image shows uninterpreted SBP data, bottom images shows data with interpreted features indicated.

 

All the above is still work in progress, with interpretations to be confirmed by additional processing and analysis. However, even this preliminary glimpse has shown us the potential of these data to contribute to our understanding of sea-level change and palaeo-landscape evolution on the coast of East Africa. The survey work will form a component of the training on the tools and techniques used being delivered to the community on the Ilha and will inform new exhibition materials for the CAIRM facility on the island.

Festival of the Sea Logo

The Festival of the Sea – Sainte Luce, Madagascar

See the outputs from The Festival of the Sea – Sainte Luce, Madagascar here!

Jonathan Skinner

(University of Roehampton)

Images of the Sainte Luce conservation area

Images of the Sainte Luce conservation area

The ‘Festival of the Sea’, Sainte Luce, Madagascar, is an example of cultural translation, of conservation and cultural politics practice relocated from the Caribbean to East Africa. A festival, whether international, national or local, is the ideal capacity builder in the community – a concept that can be applied just as effectively in the countryside as it is in the city (cf. Frost 2016). It is where both tangible and intangible cultural heritage can be realised, developed, and celebrated and agency and ownership of cultural practices established (Ohri 2016). This blog examines an innovation project using the model of the festival event as an opportunity to build capacity, as well as develop critical policy and UN SDGs, and highlight urgent sustainability issues in a region targeted for social development. Specifically, with AHRC/Global Challenges Research Fund funding (2018-2020) we established a Festival of the Sea to “reharbour heritage” and highlight sustainable development goals in one of Madagascar’s poorest conservation zones. The Festival took place in lobster fishing community Sainte Luce, June 2019, and used the participatory arts to research, test, challenge and apply marine cultural heritage as an intangible resource and vehicle for developing sustainable livelihoods with vulnerable Antanosy coastal people in the south east Anosy region of Madagascar.

This was a collaboration between the University of Roehampton and local NGO SEED Madagascar, and a team endeavour involving local community workers, a governance group, and dedicated festival co-ordinator at SEED Madagascar developing planning from the end of 2018 to June 2019. The inspiration for this project came from work in the Caribbean (Skinner 2001, 2015) on the islands of Montserrat and Anguilla where carnival festivals are themed and celebrate the community and tackle important local themes such as sustainability and conservation practice such as sea turtle conservation around Anguilla. ‘Festivals of the sea’ are used on the island of Anguilla to engage promote sea turtle conservation and to assist local fishermen in their work with tourists. This innovation project has been to translate and travel this festival model from the Caribbean to Madagascar, specifically to the Sainte Luce conservation reserve in southern Madagascar where SEED Madagascar have a history of long term community and conservation development work. Theoretically, this is an illustration of transculturation: of cultural practices in one destination being applied in another, of ‘culture on tour’ to invoke anthropologist of tourism Ed Bruner (2004). Though the concept travelled, the nature of the specific Sainte Luce festival was co-produced. Social anthropologist Nicola Frost (2016: 573) makes the point that without such local involvement the festival becomes devoid of social meaning.

Though a rich biodiverse environment with key marine, mining and rainforest resources, the approximately 300,000 Antanosy people in this Anosy region live in extreme poverty: literacy is under 20%; income from fishing is approximately $1.50/day; only 1 in 10 residents have access to sanitation; hunger is a regional problem; malaria is rife; 80% of coastal community households – such as those in Sainte Luce – rely on fishing for their primary income, managing a dwindling lobster stock. This region – for all its beauty – has become the epicentre of escalating tensions between traditional and modern fishing practices. Sainte Luce has strong community governance, a fishermen’s community group and local agreed regulations of animal husbandry (dina) – principally lobster fishing in restricted ancestral places, only during open season and not with the use of harpoons or snorkels. One of the consequences of the festival here has been to showcase this village practice to neighbouring communities so that they buy into it.

This project draws attention to the ‘habits of heritage’, to heritage as intangible as well as tangible, to the idea of heritage as a human capacity – as a resourcefulness and means of resilience during difficult times. It is heritage embodied as skills, with the people having living ‘social capital’ (Arcodia and Whitford 2006) that they can harness to weather hardships from food supply to education to earning an income based upon their fishing skills, their ability to weave and braid, to sing and dance, “to make” stitch and song of adversity – quite literally. The suggestion is that carnival and festival is the unique mechanism by which to draw attention to these community strengths, to the marine cultural heritage of these Anosy people. Through focussing on the reharbouring of heritage we were able to share and disseminate best ‘traditional’ lobster fisheries management practices.

These are the three core objectives for the project.

  • establish an international partnership of artists between the UK and Madagascar working creatively together on a living MCH with Antanosy coastal fishing communities to fulfil UN social development goals
  • creatively engaged in the community on the subject of community resilience, and MCH as a resource for sustainable livelihood
  • research, test and disseminate best practice of innovative practice-based arts research methods

We spent 4 months preparing the teams, risk and ethics. Dr Skinner visited in April for a week to negotiate access into the community with local chiefs, hold auditions for the bands (Skinner 2019), a link with SEED and a team of Community Liaison Officers. We returned in June 2019 to work as a team of festival organisers and artists: Bronagh Corr-McNicholl (Arts Care artist), Paul Antick (photographer and film maker), Jonathan Skinner (project and Roehampton coordinator and dance instructor) and Tom Gammage (SEED Madagascar festival coordinator).

Textile artist Bronagh Corr-McNicholl working with women and children of Sainte Luce

Textile artist Bronagh Corr-McNicholl working with women and children of Sainte Luce

We held a free two-day festival in Sainte Luce lobster fishing community and put on events that had been co-decided with the community. We filmed the lobster fishermen at work and played footage at night alongside band performances on the stage. We held dance classes and art classes with the school children. We held tie-dying workshops with the local women’s group. We filmed and documented the festival bands as they performed, and we swapped dance moves with the local dancers. We held speed weaving competitions with mahampny reeds that are used to make hats, baskets, mats as well as lobster pots. During the two days, community events used the stage for community education in environmental awareness, best fishing practice, and a puppet show on boat safety that then went onto domestic violence, HIV and sexual health issues. At night 53 local and regional dancers and musicians performed traditional songs and dances and specially commissioned material encouraging conservation and sustainable practice in the marine environment. They played for hours to an audience of over 2000 spectators.

Dance instructor Jonathan Skinner leading a children’s dance class

Dance instructor Jonathan Skinner leading a children’s dance class

The highlight of the festival was a parade through the villages to the sea on the second day. The bands, women’s groups and children danced their way down to the sea and the Festival of the Sea stage. The Festival area we built by the sea held weaving competitions, bands, public fishermen community meetings, tales and stories from elderly fishermen. This oral tradition is strong in Madagascar (Bloch 1989, Astuti 1995) and illustrates how the festival was internal, inward-looking for the community and not for exogenous visitors. It was not a commoditisation of culture and, though taking place on a stage, did not constitute what MacCannell (1989) considers to be a variant of ‘staged authenticity’.

We were fortunate to have Bronagh liaise with the local Project STITCH embroidery group before visiting for the Festival. She was able to gauge needs and abilities and put on a series of tie-dye workshops with the women making lamba wraps to wear in keeping with local tradition; and wildlife paintings with the children and lots of paper windsocks for the procession down to the beach. Predictably the local wildlife predominated in the images – lobsters but also dolphins, fish and octopus. The children also had a best lobster painting competition.

Community education and murals at the Festival of the Sea

Community education and murals at the Festival of the Sea

Art Workshops and Live Music at the Festival of the Sea

Art Workshops and Live Music at the Festival of the Sea

Weaving Competition, Procession and Speeches at the Festival of the Sea

Weaving Competition, Procession and Speeches at the Festival of the Sea

In conclusion, the Festival of the Sea was an outstanding success. The local community became festival stakeholders (cf. Crespi-Vallbona and Greg Richards 2007), established ownership of the event and expressed a desire to develop the conservation zone adding new villages to the regional partnership on marine resource management. Small businesses benefited from the festival, and entrepreneurs sold their weaving and wares. Local awareness of the work of the agreed laws and customs – the dina – was consolidated and spread through all sectors of the community form the very young to the very old. The singers, dancers and musicians gained regional exposure performing on a stage to an audience of several thousand. For some of the local bands, this was their first large scale performance. Each group tried out their new Festival of the Sea material (a sample of these can be heard here with translations of the lyrics). Some of the bands subsequently recorded their songs in a recording studio in Sainte Luce to create a compilation CD from the Festival. This was the first time some of the groups had had their material recorded and is giving them key music industry experience, and the opportunity to market and promote their bands regionally – to tourists and local tourist industry organisations (hotels, restaurants, clubs). This exposure adds an important income stream to the musicians’ small scale entrepreneurship. The community have recently been ravaged by the affects and implications of COVID-19 with illness and family suffering but also a loss of lobster trade and restricted travel to regional markets. This festival currently plays a small part in the community resilience to this on-going adversity.

Festival of the Sea Logo

Festival of the Sea Logo

Credit to Daniel Wood for the Festival of the Sea film which we have used for stills. The film can be accessed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ni06OL76SVs&t=16s.

University of Roehampton and SEED Madagascar Reharbouring Heritage grant partners - Hannah Shepherd, April 2019

Festival of the Sea Team

References

Arcordia, C. and M. Whitford (2006) ‘Festival Attendance and the Development of Social Capital’, Journal of Convention & Event Tourism 8(2): 1-18.

Astuti, R. (1995) People of the Sea: Identity and Descent among the Vezo of Madagascar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bloch, M. (1989) Ritual, history, and power: Selected papers in anthropology. London: Athlone.

Bruner, E. (2004) Culture on Tour: Ethnographies of Travel. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Crespi‐Vallbona, M. and G. Richards (2007) ‘The Meaning of Cultural Festivals’, International Journal of Cultural Policy 13(1): 103-122.

Frost, N. (2016) ‘Anthropology and Festivals: Festival Ecologies’, Ethnos 81(4): 569-583.

Ohri, L. (2016) ‘Political Yields from Cultural Fields: Agency and Ownership in a Heritage Festival in India’, Ethnos 81(4): 667-682.

Skinner, J. (2019) ‘“Scoping” Maritime Cultural Heritage: A visit to SEED Madagascar and Sainte Luce to prepare for June’s Festival of the Sea’, AHRC Rising from the Depths Webpages, 25 July 2019, https://risingfromthedepths.com/blog/innovation-projects/scoping-maritime-cultural-heritage-a-visit-to-seed-madagascar-and-sainte-luce-to-prepare-for-junes-festival-of-the-sea/.

Skinner, J. (2015) ‘The Ambivalent Consumption of St. Patrick’s Day amongst the Black Irish of Montserrat’ in J. Skinner and D. Bryan (eds) Consuming St. Patrick’s Day. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp.186-208.

Skinner, J. (2001) ‘Licence revoked: when calypso goes too far’ in, B. Watson and J. Hendry (eds) An Anthropology of Indirect Communication. London: Routledge, pp.181-200.

Bidii na kazi plot making and fencing

Caesar Bita and Elgidius Ichumbaki published in new collection on Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage

Caesar Bita (MUCH to Discver in Mida Creak) and Elgidius Ichumbki (The Kisima Project and Musicalizing MCH) have contributed chapters to a new book: Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage Management on the Historic and Arabian Trade Routes, Editors: Parthesius, Robert, Sharfman, Jonathan (Eds.)

Caesar’s chapter explores ‘The Role of the National Museum in MUCH Management and Regional Capacity Building: Current Research in Kenya.’

While Elgidius’ chapter looks at ‘Methodological Approaches to Researching Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage Along the Swahili Coast in Tanzania.’

The publication is a great exploration of themes around Underwater Cultural Heritage, congratulations Caesar and Elgidius!

You can buy the book here.

House of Wonders, Zanzibar

Tragedy at Zanzibar’s House of Wonders

The Rising from the Depths Team were saddened to hear of the partial collapse of the House of Wonders in Zanzibar on 25th December 2020. All of the RftD team wish to express our solidarity with colleagues at the Department of Antiquities in Zanzibar and our sadness at the tragic loss of life and injury among the conservation team.  The House of Wonders is an iconic heritage landmark of Zanzibar’s waterfront. Built in 1883, it was the palace of Barghash bin Said, the second Omani Sultan of Zanzibar. The site also housed the Museum of History and Culture in Zanzibar. As such, it was an important monument that both embodied the colonial heritage of Zanzibar, based on maritime Indian Ocean trade, and was central to the heritage infrastructure of Zanzibar town. Colleagues at UNESCO and the government of Oman are working with Zanzibar’s Department of Antiquities on the restoration of the House of Wonders, which suffered earlier collapses in 2012 and 2015.

Fishers haul a fishing ngalawa onto the beach at Bagamoyo before the tide ebbs (Image: L.K. Blue)

New theme song for Marine Cultural Heritage in East Africa

Dr. Elgidius Ichumbaki, Associate Professor in the Department of Archaeology & Heritage Studies at the University of Dar es Salaam, in collaboration with popular Tanzanian rapper Chemical, has written a ‘Bongo Flava’ song entitled ‘Bahari Yetu’ (Our Ocean) outlining the importance of Marine Cultural Heritage and its relationship to the challenges currently facing Tanzanian coastal communities.

The song is intended to raise awareness of Marine Cultural Heritage in the region in a local style (Bongo Flava is a popular East African music genre) and has been widely featured on radio and television in Tanzania as well as on social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube).

The song builds on two research projects funded by the Rising from the Depths network – ‘Bahari Yetu Urithi Wetu’ in Bagamoyo and ‘The Kisima Project’ on Kilwa Kisiwani – as well as the ‘Digitizing Cultural Heritage for Sustainable Preservation and Development in Tanzania’ funded by Scottish Funding Council GCRF.

It is sung in Kiswahili (with English sub-titles) and has been widely played by Swahili radio stations and televisions channels beyond Tanzania including Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, and Rwanda.

As well as Tanzania the song makes reference to the other counties included in the Rising from the Depths project (Kenya, Mozambique and Madagascar) and, as a result, has become an anthem for the aims of the network as a whole.

The ‘Musicalizing Marine Cultural Heritage in Tanzania’ team are now working on a short documentary covering the making of the song and the issues it addresses. The documentary will aim to cover a behind the scenes production of the music video but also addressing the wider themes discussed in the song.

 

Find out more:

MUSICALIZING MARINE CULTURAL HERITAGE IN TANZANIA

BAHARI YETU, URITHI WETU (OUR OCEAN, OUR HERITAGE)

THE KISIMA PROJECT: HISTORIC AND FUTURE WELL MANAGEMENT ON KILWA KISIWANI, TANZANIA 

Chemical YouTube channel

 

fishing communities in mozambique

PDRA Positions with the Rising from the Depths Network

The Rising from the Depths Network is hiring two Post-Doctoral Research Assistants to work with us in the final stages of the project.

The first role is a one year contract looking at monitoring and evaluation of the projects it is funding in East Africa. The PDRA will have specific responsibility for bringing the tools and methodologies used in the funded project together to create a coherent set of policy statements on how engagement with marine cultural heritage can enhance sustainable marine development strategies. These statements will ensure the lessons learned and successful approaches created by the network can be utilised by a range of marine stakeholders from heritage professionals and national governments to local communities and industry. This will involve working with research teams in the region to help identify and create links between the projects completed and funded to date. The candidate will also assist in running dissemination events and creating online content for the Rising from the Depths website. The full advert can be found here.

The second role is a two year contract, working alongside Rising from the Depths and the Honor Frost Foundation. From the start of the contract the researcher will work on HFF and RftD activity – helping to bring the contacts, lessons learned and outputs from the RftD network into an eastern Mediterranean setting and, in turn, building a clear strategy for the role of marine heritage in the sustainable development of the eastern Mediterranean coastal and marine zone. The PDRA will also help to organise workshops and events in the eastern Mediterranean and the UK linking the activities of the HFF and RftD and ensuring an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders in both regions. As well as identifying and consolidating the outputs and impact of the RftD funded projects, the PDRA will do the same for all funded HFF projects to help create a coherent policy statement on the overall impact of the HFF. Policy papers will be created on the essential role of Marine Cultural Heritage in sustainable coastal development; offshore infrastructural work; coastal management; climate change resilience; legislation; promoting tourism, and in creating viable income streams for local communities. The full advert can be found here.

Bi Peris, at work on the seaweed fields

Hidden Histories Produce UNESCO Briefing on Intangible Heritage

Thembi Mutch – Hidden Histories

The Hidden Histories team have produced a UNESCO Briefing on the role of intangible cultural heritage in coastal Tanzania. It covers the research undertaken within the project and sets out recommendations for further work. You can read the full briefing here.

Bi Peris, at work on the seaweed fields

Bi Peris, at work on the seaweed fields – Image by Jenny Matthews

And you can read the full Hidden Histories Blog here.

Study and implementation of network system by fishers’ community actor for the marine cultural heritage survival: Communication of research results to the scientific event: ” Université d’été Mahajanga 2ème édition”

Heritiana Andrinjarisoa – Study and Implementation of Network System by Fishers’ Community Actors for the Marine Cultural Heritage Survival

Communication of research results to the scientific event: ” Université d’été Mahajanga 2ème édition”

Organized by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MESUPRES) and the University of Mahajanga of Madagascar, having one of the objectives of publicizing the results of research carried out by researchers from universities, national centers and / or in collaboration with international researchers, the scientific event called: “Université d’été Mahajanga 2ème édition ” was held at the Ambondrona Mahajanga University Campus from November 17 to 21, 2020, in particular in the School of Tourism. This second edition is under the theme: ” Développement inclusif, durable et gestion des risques naturels”.

To follow up on the invitation of the President of the University of Majunga for the purpose of attending this conference and participating in the oral communication, with 10 minutes of presentation followed by 5 minutes questions / answers, we have the opportunity to present the results of our research concerning the study on the implication of the indigenous people in the protection of the marine environment of the villages of Soariake in the South-West Region of Madagascar, from where the main objective is to observe and describe the mobilization of the fishing people in the co-management and protection of natural resource reserves.

Indeed, the establishment of an organizational strategy relating to the protection of the marine environment could be justified by ecological, economic and socio-cultural issues. Thus, the social and cultural contexts of the vezo’s organizational structure constitute a favorable framework for the mobilization of fishers’ communities on the protection of the marine protected area Soariake. In its system, several actors present various logics of actions allowing the reasons for the success and / or failure of protection activities. These deserve to be described in order to be able to identify directions for recovery in relation to the relationship problems observed within this protected area. Nevertheless, the participation of the fishing community promotes the conservation of natural resources. Their involvement in the system presents various logics of success in making decisions suitable for a given situation, hence the “dina” is a social convention suitable for the governance of the marine protected area. This entire article will be published in ‘Revue des Sciences, de Technologies et de l’Environnement (RSTE) volume 2’ of the University of Mahajanga. The power point presentation in French version in pdf is available here.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome, send us an email to andrinjarisoa@gmail.com

Leovigildo Cumbe taking the first photo “snap” from the CoastSnap station in -Praia de Miami-, the east site of the island (#coastsnapilha)

Call for papers: ‘Conservation implications of social-ecological change in Africa south of the equator’ of the journal Environmental Conservation

The Environmental Conservation journal are accepting papers looking at ‘Conservation implications of social-ecological change in Africa south of the equator.’

Papers must be submitted by 1 May 2021 by the journal’s website.

Full information can be read in the call for papers

 

Remains of the ruins at Mgao associated with the French slave trade in Tanzania

Futures through Underwater Pasts Fieldwork

Nancy Rushohora – Futures through Underwater Pasts

The Futures through Underwater Pasts have been carrying out fieldwork and surveys in Mgao where they have conducted a tide survey as well as an excavation where they found 16th-17th century beads as well as observing the ruins at Mgao, associated with the French Slave Trade in Tanzania.

You can read more about the project here.

Onshore/low tide survey of Mago being carried out

Onshore/low tide survey of Mago being carried out

Team recording site in Mgao

Team recording site in Mgao

Beads collected during the excavation of the Mgao settlement about 16-17th century

Beads collected during the excavation of the Mgao settlement about 16-17th century

Remains of the ruins at Mgao associated with the French slave trade in Tanzania

Remains of the ruins at Mgao associated with the French slave trade in Tanzania

fishing communities in mozambique

Guest Blog – MoBeCo – Monitoring Beira’s Coast

MoBeCo – Monitoring Beira’s Coast

MoBeCo is the latest project to join the Rising from the Depths network partners, a consortium of coastal researchers and SMEs based in the UK, working for the first time in Mozambique. The project has great synergy with other projects in the network focused on coastal monitoring.

The MoBeCo project will attempt to use novel remote-sensing data collection techniques to increase the efficiency of dredging operations at Beira, Mozambique. Keeping the port of Beira navigable is a vital task for the continued growth of the Mozambican economy and the welfare of its citizens (1). Beira is a key export point,  not only for Mozambican goods, but also exports from landlocked Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi (2). The current cost of maintenance dredging is high. This combined with the high siltation rate and unpredictable movement of sandbanks in the estuary has resulted in numerous, extremely expensive emergency-dredging operations (3). The situation is not helped by the partial sinking of the state-owned dredger vessel Macuti in 2016 (4), which is still under repair, resulting in expensive outsourcing of these dredging operations.

Beira is also extremely vulnerable to coastal hazards, highlighted by the devastation of cyclones Idai and Kenneth (5). Coastal managers in Beira require better situational awareness and access to up-to-date data so that they can design cost-effective coastal protection interventions. Hard engineering solutions such as seawalls and groynes are not cost-effective outside of the port area due to the increased pressure from rising relative sea levels and potential increased storm frequency. Therefore, managers must find more cost-effective measures such as beach nourishment and utilisation of native mangroves. Yet, unfortunately, these solutions are viewed less favourably by many authorities and local citizens who prefer the security and investment of hard engineering. A dedicated data dissemination and education campaign is required to encourage working with natural processes.

MoBeCo focuses on collecting local morphological and hydrodynamic data for coastal managers, academics and dredging authorities to use in the pursuit of more efficient management operations.

It is a 9 feasibility study funded by Innovate UK and led by Marlan Maritime Technologies (6) and the National Oceanography Centre (7).  The consortium will be working with local partners INAHINA (Instituto Nacional de Hydrografia e Navigação, the government agency for safe navigation) and members of AMS – Associação Mar Sustentåvel (Sustainable Seas Association) based in Mozambique. Their aim is to monitor the channel near the port of Beira using a set of relocatable tide and met gauges and a marine radar monitoring system (https://vimeo.com/340389947). At the end of the feasibility phase, an application will be made for continuation of the funding for phase 2, which will run for a further two years (2021-2023) and see the initial project consortium expand to included local academics and dredging authorities.

Effective coastal monitoring systems can support response planning and mitigation to safeguard economic activity and improve plans to protect coastal communities, increasing their resilience. Consequently, this will serve to improve the lives of people living at the coast.

Dr Cai Bird, director of research at Marlan and project manager for MoBeCo had this to say about the project:“The ultimate goal of this ambitious project is to dramatically increase the sustainability of the port of Beira, and greatly increase the knowledge and resilience of the local community through improved monitoring and coastal management practice. We’re really excited to be working in East Africa for the first time, despite the challenges and travel restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic making the installation and operations more difficult. We have been delighted to not only meet a new group of talented Mozambican coastal managers and academics, but also to join the Rising from the Depths network. We view this as the first step towards introducing ubiquitous, cost-effective coastal monitoring systems to the most dynamic coastal environments in East Africa.”

Relocatable marine radar coastal monitoring system and an illustration of the different datasets it produces. The area of chart highlights the region of interest in Beira

Relocatable marine radar coastal monitoring system and an illustration of the different datasets it produces. The area of chart highlights the region of interest in Beira

 

Find out more about MoBeCo by following them on twitter.

 

References

1 https://www.reuters.com/article/mozambique-beira-port-idUSL6N0BI3S320130218

2 (https://theconversation.com/malawis-dream-of-a-waterway-to-the-indian-ocean-may-yet-come-true-124718)

3 https://clubofmozambique.com/news/beira-port-emergency-dredging-completed/

4 https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/collision-partially-sinks-suction-dredger

5 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/12/climate/mozambique-climate-change-protection.html

6 https://marlan-tech.co.uk/synoptic/

7 https://noc.ac.uk/

Synoptic 4D from Marlan Maritime Technologies on Vimeo.

 

MUCH to Discover runs financial training sesions

Caesar Bita – MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek

The Mida Creek project team are making great progress in reopening after COVID restrictions. Following government relaxation of Corona restrictions, Bidii na Kazi AAL are slowly catching up. Sales from the Dhow house restaurant, canoe are picking up.

This week they ran a financial training session with Gede National Museum. Mr. Saidi Mondo, an accountant at Gede museum took the ladies through book keeping and financial management. This took place at the Dhow house.

Financial training session for the MUCH to Discover Project
Participants from MUCH to Discover meeting officials from NETFUND

Boat Mapping – MUCH to discover in Mida Creek

Caesar Bita – MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek

Our MUCH project continues to attract greater attention. A national fundiing organization / Network called NETFUND (Environment Trust Fund (NETFUND) have expressed interest to support our project. Yesterday their officers visited Mida MUCH to explore areas we can collaborate. This is indeed great.

NETFUND is a State Corporation established by the Environmental Management and Coordination Act of 1999. Our mandate is “To facilitate research intended to further the requirements of environmental management, capacity building, environmental awards, environmental publications, scholarships and grants”. NETFUND’s vision is “Sustainable financing available for environmental management in Kenya”. Our mission is “To mobilize, manage and avail resources for; environmental awards, capacity building, research and publications, scholarships and grants.

Participants from MUCH to Discover meeting officials from NETFUND

Luciana Esteves to present keynote at the Coastal Hazards in Africa 2020 Conference

Rising from the Depths Co-I, Luciana Esteves will be presenting a keynote at the Coastal Hazards in Africa 2020 Conference. The conference will be presented virtually on the 27th, 28th and 29th of October and registration is available on their website.

Lu says:

“Very pleased to have been invited to be a Keynote Speaker at the Coastal Hazards in Africa 2020 online conference. I’ll present results from the Index of Vulnerability to Coastal Change developed for East Africa. The conference will bring together researchers and managers interested in African coasts to discuss our understanding of current natural and human-induced risks and hazards and how they might change in the future due to climate change and human activities.”

Register here.

Figure 1: Binti Chanuo reef crest where spiritual practices are conducted

Linkages between Tangible and Intangible Heritage in Mkadini Village of Bagamoyo, Tanzania

This week, we have a guest blog from Miza Alex, an MA student who has provided a blog about their research in Bagamoyo.

Miza Alex, University of Dar es Salaam

Introduction

My study details research carried out at Mkadini village in the Pwani (Coastal) region of Tanzania from February to May 2019. The study focused on the linkages between tangible and intangible heritage, whereas some of the research questions I envisage to address included why the management of several heritage sites in Africa have failed to link the two, hence, a failure to achieve intended goal of ensuring heritage sustainability (Chirikure 2013; Schmidt and Pikirayi 2016). Despite the inseparability of heritage sites and the spiritual attachment local people have for them, the management of several heritage sites particularly by government officials, antiquities and heritage professionals, have failed to recognize the intangible heritage embedded in these sites which local people value most (Ndoro 2001; Munjeri 2002; Ichumbaki 2015). Cultural heritage studies conducted in Tanzania have contributed to our understanding of the existence, management, conservation and protection of various cultural heritage assets in the country. However, these studies and management institutions have placed more emphasis on the tangible cultural heritage, while intangible cultural heritage has attracted less attention. Consequently, local people, heritage professionals and government officials have developed uses of tangible cultural heritage that is not linked to the intangible. As part of an intervention, my research intended to evaluate the perceptions of local people of the intangible heritage embedded in monumental ruins and the surrounding landscape against those imposed by the government and heritage professionals using Mkadini village in the historic town of Bagamoyo as the case study.

The study was conducted in Mkadini village, UTM 0482919/9294976. This is a fishing village located about 13km north of the 19th century historic port town of Bagamoyo in the Pwani (Coastal) region of Tanzania. There are two means to access Mkadini village. From Bagamoyo town, the village is accessible by two ways which is either by road or boat. By road it takes about one and half hours. By boat it depends with the type of the boat one opts to use. With a traditional boat that uses a sail, locally known as dau (dhow), it takes about two to three hours depending on the direction of the wind. On the other hand, the boat with an engine, it takes the maximum of two hours to reach the village. The selected study area provided an ideal case study for the following reasons. First, preservation of cultural heritage sites is heavily dependent on local taboos the management strategy implemented and practiced by the local people called Wakwere reveals power relations that silences, manipulates and uses local epistemologies to achieve sustainability. Second, compared to many other ruins and sites along the coast of central Tanzania, Mkadini has not been exposed to domestic or international tourism, and there are no associated businesses that generate income from it. This means that, the local people have not attached economic value to heritage sites that are located in their area. Third, the ruins and baobab trees in Mkadini village are close to one another and, as noted previous studies at the site (e.g. see Ichumbaki 2015), both the ruins and the baobab trees are used for spiritual practices. Therefore, the area provided the researcher with viable settings for applying the theoretical and practical methodology.

Analysis of the data obtained through in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, physical survey and mapping as well as observation and participation, revealed that local people value the, reef crest, baobab trees, the ruins of stone-built tombs not because of their external appearance but because of the spiritual practices (healing, rituals, offerings, etc.) they undertake either within or around these sites. In addition, local community in Mkadini Village believe that spiritual practices done at these sites, resolve community problems.

Some of the site with spiritual value recorded during physical survey includes the reef crest, locally named Binti Chanuo. The area is known in Kiswahili as Mzimu wa Binti Chanuo (the spirit of Binti Chanuo), Mzimuni (the spirit) of Kijiwe Mtu (reef looking like a person). The reef crest is located in the southern part of Mkadini Village and its UTM point is 483302/9295606. It is located on the western side of the sea and is at the northern end of the Ruvu River. This site is accessed by walking along the beach or, during high tide, by a dhow along the shore from Mkadini Village. The reef crest is 17m long and 8m wide. It is the most visible feature at the site, although there are other smaller reef crests. In the vicinity, there is a thick mangrove forest and a perennial stream called Chalawe River.

The local people interviewed said that Binti Chanuo is visited by people from the villages of Mkadini, Winde, Kijitokamba, Chalawe and Utondwe, as well as from Dar es Salaam, Bagamoyo and Kibaha. According to the local guide at the site, Mzimuni is mainly visited during what is locally known as Mfungo Tatu, which is when visitors clean all the spiritual sites so that their ancestors dwell there free from dirt. Some spiritual practices are also conducted to honour the ancestors and request their intervention to resolve various community problems. As in the case of other sites found in the village the visitors to the reef crest bring animal sacrifices with them, which are accompanied by traditional medicines, food, cooking vessels, fragrances and many other things to enable them to say prayers and offer spiritual practices. Locals’ narratives are supported by the cultural materials which were recorded during the physical surveys. The materials recorded from around the reef crest included white bottles, some of which contained liquids, scatters of coconut shells with some marks, coins and local ceramics. Other cultural materials included incense sticks, green and brown glass bottles, matchboxes, chicken feathers, plastic bottles which local communities identified to contain spiritual medicines.

Figure 1: Binti Chanuo reef crest where spiritual practices are conducted

Figure 1: Figure 1: Binti Chanuo reef crest where spiritual practices are conducted

The results of my study contradict the Government of Tanzania perceptions of what constitutes heritage whereby Tanzania’s Department of Antiquities legally mandated to protect the cultural heritage which values the monumental and aesthetic importance of heritage sites at the expense of their spiritual value, which local people greatly respect. Hence, it is where this study concluded that in order to achieve the sustainable conservation and management of heritage sites, government officials and scholars should consider the importance of the intangible heritage associated with monumental ruins and the surrounding landscape.

Image of men working on a boat, Boat Mapping Cover Image, Field Work 2019

Boat Mapping – MUCH to discover in Mida Creek

Mark Lamont – MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek

 

Intertidal ‘wreck’ survey in Mida Creek

Many disused boats can be found hauled up onto the beaches of Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast. These are testimonies to the coast’s rich maritime cultural heritage, but their potential value to local communities has been largely overlooked. Although they are no longer being used for transportation, fishing, or hauling cargo, such vessels remain part of the region’s heritage and can be a diverse source of value.

MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek commissioned a survey in May 2019 to create an interactive map of the ‘wrecks’ within the creek’s inter-tidal areas. One purpose of this mapping exercise was to document the kinds of marine vessels used throughout Mida Creek’s tidal channels. Another reason for carrying out this map of disused boats was to create a record in light of ongoing purchases of such ‘abandoned’ boats for the purpose of making furniture and other objects for sale in the tourism industry. From many places along the East African coast where there is a significant tourist economy, a new taste for chairs, mirror frames, and other kinds of furnishings made from disused, beached vessels has created a market for this heritage.

 

In the shadow of the dhow

Boat building and maintenance is characteristic mark of a maritime culture (Prins 1965). The iconic ‘dhow’ is a symbol of Swahili maritime culture par excellence. Dhow building and sailing has occupied academic interests and continues to drive significant debate about the Indian Ocean world, its histories, its global connections (see Gilbert 2004; Sheriff 2010; Prins 1965; Villiers 1940). Indeed, Lamu’s Dhow Festival is testimony to the allure of these large ocean- going vessels among local peoples and foreigners alike. Yet resting in the shadows of such larger vessels are the many different kinds of smaller boats. This mapping exercise sought to draw attention to the significance of small maritime craft used for inter-tidal or inshore fisheries and transportation. It was hoped that MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek might inspire visitors to participate in the living traditions of the creek’s communities, including boat- building, taking a trip in such boats, as well as contributing to an online project of documenting ‘wrecks’ as artefacts of significant historical and cultural value.

 

Mida Creek Boat Map

Visitors to the MUCH to be Discovered at Mida Creek project will be invited to ‘see’ the maritime cultural heritage as they move around the creek and its channels. A Google Earth Project, the Mida Creek Boat Map, can serve to guide visitors around the various sites, most of which are fishing villages or landing sites.

You can access the site here.

Field activities in May 2019 led to the identification of many disused boats specifically adapted to the environment and activities found in Mida Creek.

Field activities in May 2019 led to the identification of many disused boats specifically adapted to the environment and activities found in Mida Creek.

Mida Creek’s vessels in context

Mida Creek is currently situated within three important gazetted areas: (1) Watamu National Marine Park; (2) Arabuko-Sokoke Forest; and (3) Gede National Monument. Restrictions in economic activities apply to all of these sites. The creek itself is part of a bio-sphere reserve and certain restrictions are in place on how local residents may use their natural resources.

Fisheries continue to be a significant, although threatened, resource for making a living. Small dugout canoes, mtumbwi (or dau as they are known locally) are all-purpose boats for most inter-tidal fisheries and, on occasion, for ferrying visitors to sites of special interest in the creek. The boat-building activities that took place with this project in 2019 were commissioned to build new mtumbwi that visitors can experience.


M
tumbwi – dugout canoes made from mwembe wood (mango) trees, or msufi (kapok), used extensively in the inter-tidal zones of the creek. They are propelled, or punted, through the water using poles (kafi).

Notice how this mtumbwi (dau) is propelled through the water using a punting pole (kafi). This dugout canoe is the same variety as those built by the community during the MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek project. [Photo credit: Field Activity, May 2019]

Notice how this mtumbwi (dau) is propelled through the water using a punting pole (kafi). This dugout canoe is the same variety as those built by the community during the MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek project. [Photo credit: Field Activity, May 2019]

Hori – a variation on the mtumbwi (dau) but used to move between the shore and larger vessels at anchor. Note that only one example of this was found during the survey, but presumably during the active years of the mangrove trade, these would have been numerous.

This boat at the landing by Uyombo was identified as hori, significantly wider and longer than most mtumbwi, having a morticed feature for a mast (it is called a mast thwart). This would be a likely harbour for larger, ocean-going cargo vessels, especially those involved in the trade of mangrove poles (boriti). [Photo credits – Field Activity, May 2019]

This boat at the landing by Uyombo was identified as hori, significantly wider and longer than
most mtumbwi, having a morticed feature for a mast (it is called a mast thwart). This would be a likely harbour for larger, ocean-going cargo vessels, especially those involved in the trade of mangrove poles (boriti). [Photo credits – Field Activity, May 2019]

Ngalawa – this outrigger canoe was used for littoral transportation, as well as for reaching outlying reefs for spear and net fishing. There was one ngalawa found during the survey at Uyombo. They are popular among tourists for local excursions under sail.

This ngalawa is still being used by fishermen in Uyombo. These craft are quite rare today but would have been used to sail around in lagoons, creeks, and inshore fishing zones. [Photo credit: Field Activity, May 2019]

This ngalawa is still being used by fishermen in Uyombo. These craft are quite rare today but would have been used to sail around in lagoons, creeks, and inshore fishing zones. [Photo credit: Field Activity, May 2019]

Mashua – these are the smaller of the iconic lateen sail ‘dhows’, mainly used for fishing on the ocean for pelagic fish, sharks, and snapper; and/or for transport of cargo from port to port.  Fishermen  could  live  aboard  these  craft and  they  are  used  in  coasting very long distances.

The Mavuvi 2 was built as part of a community project and now lies beached at Uyombo. A typical mashua, a vessel of this kind had many uses, including cargo haulage and pelagic fishing. [Photo credit: Field Activity, May 2019]

The Mavuvi 2 was built as part of a community project and now lies beached at Uyombo. A typical mashua, a vessel of this kind had many uses, including cargo haulage and pelagic fishing. [Photo credit: Field Activity, May 2019]

Boat-sheds

The saline and coralline environments takes a toll on wooden boats. While these vessels are mainly made from mango wood or mwembe, as well as msufi (kapok, or cotton-tree), the availability and costs of this wood has become a challenge for most craftsmen. As boat- maintenance has been changed by the availability of new materials and techniques, the

‘fibreglass revolution’ within boat-building traditions has been applied also to repairing these smaller inshore and inter-tidal craft. Most significant landing sites near villages in the creek have boat-sheds  constructed  of straight mangrove poles (boriti) and  palm-frond thatch (makuti) to provide craftsmen and their assistants with shelter and shade while they are working. The MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek ‘dhow-house’, where experimental archaeology activities will take place, is an example of this local, indigenous architecture.

Boat-house at Uyombo. Note the architectural features replicated in the MUCH to Discover at Mida Creek ‘dhow house’ [Photo Credits: Field Activity, Uyombo, May 2019]

Boat-house at Uyombo. Note the architectural features replicated in the MUCH to
Discover at Mida Creek ‘dhow house’ [Photo Credits: Field Activity, Uyombo, May 2019]

Several factors have led to the adoption of fibreglass as a new material to repair dau or mtumbwi. One of these factors is the scarcity of timber (mainly mwembe or mango wood), but the other factor is a rise of fibreglass boat-building techniques and skills. Fibreglass is rigid and strong, ideal for repairing cracked hulls, but if not prepared properly, it can also be fragile. It is also very expensive. [Photo Credit: Field Activity, Sita, May 2019]

Several factors have led to the adoption of fibreglass as a new material to repair dau or mtumbwi. One of these factors is the scarcity of timber (mainly mwembe or mango wood), but the other factor is a rise of fibreglass boat-building techniques and skills. Fibreglass is rigid and strong, ideal for repairing cracked hulls, but if not prepared properly, it can also be fragile. It is also very expensive. [Photo Credit: Field Activity, Sita, May 2019]

 

Conclusions

Until there is a wide understanding that small inter-tidal and inshore boats are of significant cultural heritage value, their looting will continue. As such boats become replaced by fibreglass vessels, some of their unique manoeuvrability and handling in sheltered, inter-tidal channels will surely be lost. Boats like mtumbwi are perfectly adapted to reach deep inside tidal mangrove channels to exploit resources only found there. Whether it is fishing or taking tourists into the mangrove, such vessels are an important, central part of the maritime cultural heritage of the creek’s communities.

By creating a map of the existing disused boats, MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek creates an opportunity for local people to document the stories of each of these boats. The hope is that an intriguing record of mtumbwi, hori, ngalawa, and the larger mashua will inspire new research and programming into Mida’s fascinating maritime traditions. Not only will an interactive map bring about a record of such boats locations, it also curates them digitally and may start a process whereby local fishermen and their owners value them for something other than the small amounts of money that collectors or looters will pay for them. A map can educate school children, as well as being a source of potential fun as they explore other aspects of the creek’s rich marine and maritime heritage. As biocultural artefacts, such boats tell an interesting story about the special adaptations and history of Mida Creek within a wider world.

 

Suggested and Further Reading:

  • Falck, W. E. (2014). Boats and Boatbuilding in T anzania (D ar-es-S alaam and Zanzibar). International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 43(1), 162-173.
  • Gilbert, E. (2011). The dhow as cultural icon: heritage and regional identity in the western Indian Ocean. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 17(1), 62-80.
  • Gilbert, E. (2004). Dhows & the colonial economy of Zanzibar: 1860-1970. Oxford: James Currey.
  • Pollard, E., & Bita, C. (2017). Ship engravings at Kilepwa, Mida Creek, Kenya. Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa, 52(2), 173-191.
  • Prins, A. H. J. (1965). Sailing from Lamu: a study of maritime culture in Islamic East Africa.
  • Sheriff, A. (2010). Dhow Culture of the Indian Ocean: Cosmopolitanism, Commerce and Islam. Columbia University Press.
  • Villiers, A. (1940). Sons of Sinbad: An Account of Sailing with the Arabs in Their Dhows, in the Red Sea, Round the Coast of Arabia, and to Zanzibar and Tanganyika, Pearling in the Persian Gulf, and the Life of the Shipmasters and the Mariners of Kuwait. Hodder & Stoughton.
  • Weiss, E. A. (1973). Some indigenous trees and shrubs used by local fishermen on the East
  • African Coast. Economic Botany, 27(2), 174-192.
Running a photogrammetry workshop in preparation for the second phase of fieldwork

Marine Cultural Heritage in Northern Mozambique – Underwater survey and long-term climate change

Marine Cultural Heritage in Northern Mozambique 

Northern Mozambique formed part of the Indian Ocean trade network from the 7th century, which gave rise to a vibrant maritime culture of settlement, travel and exchange. The most well-known site is Mozambique Island, a major port of significance for East African maritime trade from the 14th century. It became the capital of Portuguese colonial government from 1507 and its architectural diversity was recognised by UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in 1991. Despite the wealth of archaeological sites located in the waters around the Island, Marine Cultural Heritage (MCH) has not received the attention and protection it deserves. Pressures on the resource have ranged from damage by salvage operations, insensitive development, to poor fishing practises and pollution.

In response the Centro de Arquelogia Investigção e Recursos da Ilha de Moçambique (CAIRIM) is vitally important in providing a focus for the study and conservation of marine cultural heritage on the island and for efforts to reach and engage with the local community. An initiative of Eduardo Mondlane university, CAIRIM has been a key partner of the Northern Mozambique project as it develops new ways of exploring, understanding and celebrating Marine Cultural Heritage.

One such effort to develop new dimensions for MCH is a major campaign of underwater survey touching on themes hitherto unexplored in the region. The Mozambique coast is little studied from a coastal geomorphology perspective and very little baseline information exists on fairweather processes, storm impacts, or sea-level change, all of which shape the landscape and influence livelihoods. The coast and continental shelf contain important indicators of past sea- levels, including former shorelines now submerged. The nature of the geomorphic record provides indications of coastal response to former sea-level change and, taken in conjunction with the contemporary coastal morphology and projected future sea- levels, provides an insight into likely future conditions and the challenges they pose to inhabitants, the local economy and the cultural and biological heritage.

Survey work underway on SV Bom Dia at Ilha de Mozambique

Survey work underway on SV Bom Dia at Ilha de Mozambique

Toward the end of 2019 we deployed a range of geophysical equipment in the waters adjacent to the island. In total over 100km of seismic data and c.25ha of multibeam sonar imagery were collected. The seismic technique is capable of penetrating the seabed and thus detecting buried features that reveal the changes to the environment, for example former river channels which were submerged by sea-level rise and now infilled with sediment. The multibeam sonar measures depth with great accuracy enabling a high-resolution 3D model of the seabed to be produced which includes natural and cultural points of interest. Mozambique Island lies within a large, shallow embayment with deeper channels approaching its anchorage to the north. These exit into the Indian Ocean where the bathymetry deepens swiftly at a submerged shelf that runs parallel to the East African coast. Work concentrated on this area of the shelf which can reveal ‘terraces’, palaeo-channels and other relic geomorphological features suggesting the presence of earlier shorelines and former landscapes under lower sea-level conditions.

Survey tracks and colour-coded multibeam imagery of the seabed in the environs of Mozambique Island superimposed onto a recent Sentinel-2 satellite image. Warm colours indicate shallow water, shading to colder colours for deeper water

Survey tracks and colour-coded multibeam imagery of the seabed in the environs of Mozambique Island superimposed onto a recent Sentinel-2 satellite image. Warm colours indicate shallow water, shading to colder colours for deeper water

An offshore channel meanders toward the deep-water shelf at the edge of Mozambique Island’s embayment.

An offshore channel meanders toward the deep-water shelf at the edge of Mozambique Island’s embayment.

Seismic data line revealing the presence of a submerged palaeo-channel (right) within the bay. Such channels demonstrate the former morphology of the bay and the environmental regime that produced them.

Seismic data line revealing the presence of a submerged palaeo-channel (right) within the bay. Such channels demonstrate the former morphology of the bay and the environmental regime that produced them.

Survey data is still under analysis and will form a key element of the training and materials the project will be delivering on its return to Mozambique Island. The survey team’s field visit coincided with a UNESCO training workshop hosted by CAIRIM on the Island. This allowed not only CAIRIM personnel and community volunteers to join the survey vessel but also maritime cultural heritage practitioners from the wider region. In addition, we joined the workshop back at base to deliver training insights on the geophysical techniques employed and their display and interpretation. Once all data is processed a further set of interpretative and training materials will be developed to conclude the surveys findings.

Onboard training to UNESCO delegates, CAIRIM personnel and community volunteers

Onboard training to UNESCO delegates, CAIRIM personnel and community volunteers

As fascinating as the emerging survey results are, they are not undertaken in isolation of the broader aims of contextualising past climate change in order to meet the challenges of current sea-level threats and other pressures. The project’s return to the island was disrupted by the COVID-19 crisis, however this involves an ongoing programme of training, community engagement and ethnographic survey. In addition work in partnership with CAIRIM will involve returning to shipwrecks imaged during the survey in order to enhance our understanding of them and assess their vulnerability.

Running a photogrammetry workshop in preparation for the second phase of fieldwork

Running a photogrammetry workshop in preparation for the second phase of fieldwork

 

Obed demonstrates nursery making

MUCH to Discover Website Launch

Caesar Bita – MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek

MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek is a project that aims to promote community development through engagement with maritime heritage. Located in Mida Creek, in Kilifi County in Kenya, it sought to make value out of Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage (MUCH) by helping locals learn about its potential. By developing a number of economic generating community initiatives relating to MUCH, the project has created outstanding ‘living heritage’ activities that are generating far-reaching interest and investment among the locals. Through forest surveys in the Arabuko Sokoke forest, the project has revealed how local communities use and continue to use the natural forest and Creek for settlement and subsistence as well as maritime activities such as boat building.

Within the project, communities have been involved in maritime archaeological research and surveys; the establishment of a Mida Maritime Heritage Interpretive centre in the archaeologically significant Mida Creek; building a dhow-house and fishermen boatyard using locally traditionally available materials; as well as training in ecotourism and climate change mitigation through mangrove reforestation. Additional alternative livelihood initiatives have been developed in the creek, that will not only help local communities but also help conserve the maritime wider cultural and natural landscape.

The project has demonstrated how MUCH (Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage) can be used to create pathways to sustainable community development and resilience.

To begin to share their activities, the Biddi na Kazi Women’s Group at Mida Creek have worked with the Documentary Institute of East Africa to co-create an interactive website:

The website can be accessed here.

 

Conversations on COVID-19, IEL and the right to food

Professor Annamaria LaChimia participated in the conversation on COVID-19, IEL and the right to food, together with Luis Eslava (Kent Law), Clair Gammage (Bristol Law) and Michael Fakhri (Oregon Law), the newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. They explored the impact of COVID-19 on food security, food distribution, trade, and the right to food. they emphasized the importance of local food production and of heritage in understanding the different patterns of production and subsistence. Follow the link below to listen to the conversation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AG-791H-60k&feature=youtu.be

CoastSnap Update

CoastSnap Mozambique – Caridad Ballesteros

CoastSnap Mozambique encourages participants to take photos of the coastline so that changes can be mapped. See a selection of images below from the CoastSnap locations in Tofo and Ilha.

You can follow the progress of CoastSnap on Twitter (@CoastSnapMOZ) and on Facebook.

Project team sat outside ministeranny serasera

Involvement of the Vezo fishing people in the protection of the underwater cultural heritage

Study and Implementation of Network Systems by Fishers Community Actors for Survival of Marine Cultural Heritage

The blog below by RABEKOTO Andrinjarisoa Heritiana and Jeannette Faranirina (Marovany Association) shares information on their training programme for local community actors.

Project team sat outside ministeranny serasera

Stolen objects from site

On March 14-15, 2020, we started as part of our study project for the survival of the underwater cultural heritage of Southwest Madagascar, the establishment of a network of community actors through training of representatives of the vezo communities. They come from the 6 fokontany in the rural commune of Tsifota, namely the fokontany of Tsifota, Tsandamba, Salary nord I, Salary nord II, Bekodoy and Andravony. He was a focal point and 12 village animators including 6 men and 6 women who were elected by the indigenous populations at the level of these fokontany. Each fokontany already has an association of fishermen and also of women, these gave us an opportunity to adopt the gender approach in this project.

Beforehand, Solondrainy Ernest, the focal point of our association called Marovany, went down by village to organize election meetings for these mixed village leaders who raise awareness among the fishing people in their village. The appointment of these agents was justified by the minutes of the meetings and endorsed by the Fokontany Chiefs. It was the first time in the history of the protection of wrecks in the Southwestern coastal region of Madagascar that an initiative to involve the vezos was launched from a capacity building workshop for their representatives. on the themes in the plan below and carried out in collaboration between the organization of Malagasy civil society and the Regional Direction of Communication and Culture of Southwest.

For the beginning of the workshop which was held in the hall of the Regional Direction of Communication and Culture of South West in Tsienengea Toliara, the Regional Director of this institution took the opening speech, specifying the will of the Malagasy State since 2014 on the protection of the underwater cultural heritage by ratifying this 2001 convention and it also encouraged effective collaboration with the local population on the fight against the illicit traffic of wrecks.

I started the training proper by sharing knowledge on the 2001 UNESCO convention which led us to speak about underwater cultural heritage. The training of Arturo Rey da Sylva from Unesco in 2015 and my experiences as trainers of community workers within Medical Care Development International (MCDI) Madagascar allowed me to adopt the plan of this training. In addition, REMEKY Eric Emilson, member of an association in the Regional Platform of Civil Society Organizations of Southwest, an expert trainer of community agents provided training on topics relating to communication as well as management tools report.

The 13 participants were all active and were very interested in the subjects. They set annual global objectives by type of awareness such as 3,120 interpersonal communications, 624 home visits, 156 group discussions and 2 sketches. That is to say, each facilitator should carry out 240 interpersonal communications, 48 ​​home visits, 12 group discussions and 2 sketches that they will do together during the events marking the commune. So, each village leader has had his working document and the focal point will go on field trips to collect data on the reports of monthly awareness activities by fokontany or village. Then, he will send me this encrypted data so that I can feed the network awareness dashboard. All these tools will be available as an appendix in our final report at the end of the project. Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome, send me an email to andrinjarisoa@gmail.com

 

TRAINING PLAN

1st day

  1. UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage

– What is Unesco?

– Definition of underwater cultural heritage

– Potentials of the underwater cultural heritage

– Threats to the underwater cultural heritage

– Why is an international treaty necessary?

– Benefits of ratifying the 2001 convention

  1. Presentation of the 3 wrecked ships in the maritime territory of northern Salary

– Shipwrecked vessels in the maritime territory of Madagascar

– Brief history on the 3 wrecked ships: Nossa Senhora do Carmo (1774); Winterton (1792) and Surprise (1885)

– Activity carried out and current situation on the 3 wrecks

  1. Management of underwater cultural heritage

– At local level

– At regional level

– On a national level

– At an international level

  1. The village animator at the population level

– Definition of the village animator

– Role of village animator

– Behavior of a village leader

  1. Communication

– Definition

– Elements of communication

– Structure of an effective message

 

2nd day

  1. Awareness

– Objective of awareness

– Different types of awareness: interpersonal communication, home visit, group discussion and sketch

– Steps to follow for each type of awareness

  1. Action plan, monthly report and target setting

– Development of the action plan

– Completion of a monthly activity report

– Calculation of global and individual target setting

  1. Signing of employment agreement

– Drafting of the engagement agreement

– Convention signature by village leaders

Stolen Objects from local site

Attempt of depredation of the wreckages failed in Salary north

Study and Implementation of Network Systems by Fishers Community Actors for Survival of Marine Cultural Heritage

The blog below by RABEKOTO Andrinjarisoa Heritiana and Jeannette Faranirina (Marovany Association) explores the issue of thefts from heritage sites.

Stolen Objects from local site

Stolen objects from site

A team of twenty men with professional divers from MARIO MATTEO DIEGO DIVE (Père &fils) would like to steal the wrecks of one of these 3 ships in the maritime territory of Salary North but had failed. This team was accommodated by the head of the landing at Salary North I by installing their tents in the courtyard of the landing and started to take some samples.

In this regard, we contacted and moved the representatives of the Regional Direction of Communication and Culture from South-West as well as the regional platform of civil society organizations from South-West of Madagascar to observe the situation in place on January 06, 2020. They were Mr. RANDRIANAMBININA Bertrand, Head of Heritage Division within this Regional Department, then Mr. RANDRIAMALALA Bonhomme Elysé, Journalist and cameraman of RNM / TVM within this Department who also provided media coverage of this mission and also Mr. VICTOR, member of the board of the platform of civil society organizations in the thematic environment of land and sea, called FAMARI.

The mayor of the commune was not aware of this situation, the chief of Fokontany said that this group did not appear to him before settling in the village of northern Salary. One of the leaders of this group told us that they have carried out a feasibility study for their fish farm project which is going to be financed by the Malagasy state and he showed us a request which contain an authorization that allow them to dive. We have understood that this authorization is illegal because it is a request for a diving authorization on behalf of the applicants which is addressed to the Regional Chief of Fisheries and Aquaculture. While this request bears the logo of the Malagasy state and that of the ministry responsible for fisheries which is signed by the regional head of the fisheries and aquaculture department.

We explained to this group the commitment of the Malagasy State on the protection of the underwater cultural heritage following the ratification of the 2001 UNESCO Convention and told them that, following their authorization letter, they had no right to take objects from wrecked ships. Then, we also explained that the Ministry in charge of Culture is the competent authority to give a research authorization on terrestrial and underwater cultural heritage. In this regard, we have said that they committed an act of looting.

So, in relation to this situation, we made the decision to tell them to stop their search, then bring the wrecks back to the site and this activity was accompanied by the members of the Soariake association, and finally to follow the procedure legal before continuing their study by passing to the Ministry in charge of Culture too. All these decisions were written down in minutes and signed by the representatives of each entity present. The file (photos, video of interview, minutes, and mission report) is currently under the responsibility of the Regional Direction of Communication and Culture of South-West Madagascar.

This month of February, our activity continues and focuses on the establishment of a focal point and training of village leaders. The latter concern two mixed leaders (man and woman) per village who represent the fishermen and who are appointed by themselves by taking minutes of a legalization meeting of their choice. They will benefit from capacity building on the basic communication technique and knowledge of the 2001 UNESCO convention as well as the benefits for the protection of underwater cultural heritage.

More on this in the next blog! Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome, in sending to me by email:  andrinjarisoa@gmail.com

Project team stood by car

Data collection in the villages by fishers’ community in the farming township of Tsifota, Southwest of Madagascar

Study and Implementation of Network Systems by Fishers Community Actors for Survival of Marine Cultural Heritage

The blog below by RABEKOTO Andrinjarisoa Heritiana and Jeannette Faranirina (Marovany Association) outlines the communities that their project will engage with.

Project team stood by car

Started in the end of December 2019 until the beginning of January 2020, we carried out this field work to collect data in the villages of the vezo communities within the rural commune of Tsifota, District Toliara II, located in the coastal area of ​​the Southwest region of Madagascar. It includes six fokontany from north to south such as Tsifota, Tsiandamba, Salary nord I, Salary nord II, Bekodoy and Andravony. This research was carried out to have the observation and description of the mobilization of the fishing people to co-manage and protect the marine environment in order to draw lessons for the establishment of a system of protection and development of value underwater cultural heritage, namely the wrecks of Winterton (1792), Nossa Senhora do Carmo (1774) and the Surprise

The indigenous population, represented by the Soariake association, has integrated into the process of our research in order to achieve the objective. This local civil society organization is co-manager with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as promoter, between 2008 and 2010 and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) since 2011, of the marine protected marine area Soariake of category VI of the classification of International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Through the establishment of seven community marine reserves managed by the social convention called DINA, WCS intervened to support local communities in the sustainable management of these natural resources which are part of one of the great reef systems of the world and located in 80 km north of the city of Toliara. The overall management objective is to ensure the long-term protection and maintenance of biodiversity, cultural heritage and ecological services and to promote the sustainable use of natural resources to contribute on poverty reduction.

The data collections were carried out with the various members of the ethnic groups of the fishing people, tourism actors, basic community organizations as well as stakeholders in relation to the conservation of natural resources such as fishermen’s associations and women in the village. , the private company Ocean Farmer, which supported local communities to ease the pressure on natural resources through the development of seaweed farming in fishing communities.

More on this in the next blog! Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome, in sending to me by email:  andrinjarisoa@gmail.com

Measuring, weighing and selling the day’s lobster catch - J. Skinner, April 2019

Reharbouring heritage with Madagascar’s ‘Festival of the Sea’

Reharbouring Heritage

RAI RESEARCH SEMINAR

SEMINAR SERIES AT THE ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE

Reharbouring heritage with Madagascar’s ‘Festival of the Sea’:
a celebration highlighting sustainable development goals, promoting marine cultural heritage, and developing practice–based research

Dr Jonathan Skinner (University of Roehampton) and partners

Wednesday 25 March 5:30 – 7:30 pm

A festival, whether international, national or local, is the ideal capacity builder in the community. This evening presents findings from a practice-based research project run by the University of Roehampton and NGO SEED Madagascar. With AHRC/Global Challenges Research Fund funding (2018-2020) through the AHRC funded Rising from the Depths Network, we established a Festival of the Sea to “reharbour heritage” and highlight sustainable development goals in one of Madagascar’s poorest conservation zones. The Festival took place in lobster fishing community Sainte Luce, June 2019, and used the participatory arts to research, test, challenge and apply marine cultural heritage as an intangible resource and vehicle for developing sustainable livelihoods with vulnerable Antanosy coastal people in the south east Anosy region of Madagascar.
This evening features the findings of this partnership that resulted in a two-day festival of skills sharing and knowledge exchange. There will be a talk, and exhibition of film, photography, music and dance from the festival.

This event is free, but tickets must be booked. To book tickets please go to: https://jonathanskinner.eventbrite.co.uk

Tsimihantaravye Tandroy dance audition (https://youtu.be/6RBmhlbIzVA) – J. Skinner, April 2019

Tsimihantaravye Tandroy dance audition (https://youtu.be/6RBmhlbIzVA) – J. Skinner, April 2019

 

Mangrove field

MUCH to Discover Mangrove Reforestation

Caesar Bita – MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek

At MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek, Climate Change impact mitigation through Mangrove reforestation is now serious business! The Bidii na Kazi women group mangrove nursery is approaching 100,000 seedlings. Many thanks to the project’s partnership with KEFRI!

Mangrove planting Mangrove field Female volunteer planting Mangrove

 

Bidii an Kazi women fencng plots for the nurseries

MUCH to Discover and KEFRI Partnership

Caesar Bita – MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek

MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek has partnered with Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI) in climate change mitigation in Mida Creek through mangrove reforestation. KEFRI will support Bidii na Kazi women group in mangrove reforestation and have donated 300,000 nursery pots for mangrove nursery. They will follow up the nursery supporting the women in lunches two days in a week when the women will be working the nurseries. We have started again this early to take advantage of the next rain season in April-June. When the seedlings are grown Kenya Forest Research Institute will then purchase these from the women for planting at the Creek.

Mr. Obed Shiundu of Kefri was with us at the Creek to donate the nursery pots and show the women the women how to plant the mangrove seedlings. We also have established plots for the nurseries.

 

Obed demonstrates nursery making Mr Obed demonstrates planting mangrove seedlings Bidii na kazi plot making and fencing Bidii an Kazi women fencng plots for the nurseries

 

Heritage on the Edge: New Approaches to African Coastal Heritage

The SAFA (Society for African Archaeologists) is coming to UK this autumn and is being hosted at St Hugh’s College, Oxford 21-24th September.

We have had a session provisionally accepted that is around the Rising from the Depths themes, with up to around 20 slots for papers:

 

Heritage on the Edge: New Approaches to African Coastal Heritage

PA-16 Mark Horton, Jon Henderson and Laura Basell

mark.horton@rau.ac.uk jon.henderson@nottingham.ac.uk l.basell@leicester.ac.uk

African countries currently have little capacity to protect or explore their rich coastal and marine heritage, yet it is under active threat from unprecedented levels of infrastructural development and the impacts of climate change. In recent years there has been a revival of interest in recording tangible and intangible material cultural heritage under threat from rapid development (e.g. UK initiatives such as the AHRC- GCRF Rising from the Depths Network and the British Museum’s Endangered Material Knowledge Programme (EMKP), plus a range of other projects). This has led to the application of a wide array of new approaches and techniques that move beyond more traditional archaeological excavations and surveys or ethnographic observations. There have also been notable efforts to move towards co-production of knowledge involving multi-national collaborators and local communities.

This session seeks contributions from coastal research projects that involve: 1) the application of innovative recording and visualization techniques; 2) the co-creation of research with local stakeholders; and 3) challenge-led research aimed at creating social, economic, and/or cultural benefits. It will critically examine: a) the opportunities for situating archaeological research within a widely connected research framework; and b) the reciprocal benefits of engaging with the wider development agenda in Africa.

 

There are a couple of SAFA rules – to submit a paper you have to be a SAFA member, and there are restrictions on the number of papers that you can be first author / discussant etc. See https://www.arch.ox.ac.uk/safa-2020

Membership details for SAFA are here (its free for African scholars)

https://safa.rice.edu/annual-membership-and-subscription-fees

THE SAFA DEADLINE IS 31TH JANUARY FOR ABSTRACTS 

Any questions about submitting a proposal please contact the session organisers below:

We look forward to hearing from you!

Jon.Henderson@nottingham.ac.uk

lb434@leicester.ac.uk

Mark.Horton@rau.ac.uk

Dr Ernesto Macaringue taking the first photo “snap” from the CoastSnap station in Tofo beach (#coastsnaptofo)

African Handbook of Climate Change Adaptation – Call for Abstracts

Final Call for Contributors: “African Handbook of Climate Change Adaptation: learning, sharing and advancing efforts to promote climate change adaptation in Africa

Editorial Board
Co- Editors: Prof. Walter Leal, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (Germany) and Manchester Metropolitan University (UK); Prof. Nicholas Ogugu, University of Nairobi (Kenya)

The “African Handbook of Climate Change Adaptation: learning, sharing and advancing efforts to promote climate change adaptation in Africa”  is expected to be launched  at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland. With over 100 chapters covering the whole African continent, it is expected to provide a robust and long-lasting contribution to the literature on matters related to climate change in an African context, also providing new knowledge which may be considered in support of future policy-making.

The Editorial Board are looking for contributions from  senior researchers, lecturers, representatives from well established NGOs and from enterprises working on matters related to climate change adaptation from across the African continent. In particular, we explicitly seek inputs from doctoral students at advanced stages, who have results which are mature enough to be shared. There are no restrictions on the  authorship: we welcome authors based in Africa itself, and authors based elsewhere, but working in partnership with African organisations. In line with the principles of gender integration, inputs from female researchers are especially welcome. Further details will be shared with the authors of those abstracts which have been accepted.

* Deadline for the submission of a 200 words  abstract: 30th January 2020

* Deadline for the submission of full papers: 30th May 2020

Expressions of interest, initially consisting of a 200 words abstract, should include the full contact details of the authors, may be sent to the ICCIRP Office in Hamburg using this e-mail address: ICCIRP-ClimateChangeManagement@haw-hamburg.de.

Africa is officially designated as a climate change hot stop. Indeed, it is believed that climate change is one of the major challenges African countries have to face at present. The social and economic impacts of climate change on the African continent are manifold. Apart from exarcebating poverty, they significantly impair agriculture (leading among other things to food insecurity), water security and human health, among other areas. The impacts of climate change are also known to constraint economic growth and the development prospects of many African nations.

A trend seen in the international scientific climate change debate and discourse, is the fact that the documentation and reflection of experiences and studies from Africa,  is still rather  limited, especially when compared with those  from industrialised countries. Also, African researchers- especially the new generation of professionals being trained at PhD level right now-  seldom  have the opportunity to share their research and insights with an international audience.

The “African Handbook of Climate Change Adaptation: learning, sharing and advancing efforts to promote climate change adaptation in Africa” will address the above shortcomings, by offering a platform via which African experiences on climate change adaptation may documented and promoted, both within Africa and elsewhere. The publication, which will be fully peer-reviewed by a panel of editors and reviewers, is coordinated by the International Climate Change Information and Research Programme (ICCIPR) https://www.haw-hamburg.de/en/ftz-nk/programmes/iccirp/, in partnership with a set of African organisations active in the field of climate change. The “African Handbook of Climate Change Adaptation: learning, sharing and advancing efforts to  promote climate change adaptation in Africa” will be published as part of the  “Climate Change Management Series” with Springer https://www.springer.com/series/8740  which is the world´s leading peer-reviewed book series on climate change adaptation.

Details on the next publication from the series, the “Handbook of Climate Change Resilience” with over 200 authors, can be seen at: https://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319933351.

Rising from the Depths at the inaugural Indian Ocean World Archaeology meeting

University of Exeter, 10-11 January 2020

Research conducted by the Rising from the Depths network was well represented at the inaugural meeting of the Indian Ocean World Archaeology network. In particular, a presentation of the RftD-funded project ‘Bahari yetu, Urithi wetu’ was given by Lucy Blue, John Cooper and Elgidius Ichumbaki (picture). The paper discussed progress on this project at Bagamoyo, which seeks to explore the relationship of local fishermen, boat builders and other local groups with the marine environment, building an overall understanding of the marine cultural heritage at this important site. The paper was well received, with discussion at the end focusing on the challenges and opportunities of tourism at Bagamoyo, which has meant restrictions on the ways that locals are able to exploit the marine environment.

Other RftD members were in attendance, with Stephanie Wynne-Jones, Mark Horton, Caesar Bita and Edward Pollard all presenting on aspects of their work. The next IOW-ARCH meeting will be in 2022; we look forward to seeing more RftD projects there!Presenter at Indian Ocean World Archaeology

The focus group and project team with Dr Solange Macamo (far left), Incassane

WITH Coastal Style Interviews in Katembe

Sarah Worden and Solange Macamo

Project Co-Investigator, Solange Macamo, has joined the WITH Coastal Style team during their interviews in Katembe.

Solange said: “I have joined the field work, in Katembe and I have learnt how to interview women there, for collecting  data about textiles. Women were proud to tell their life history related to textiles. There are both social and economic values associated to the textiles, as part of the marine cultural heritage,  specifically in Katembe. My role in the field was to help to translate whenever it was necessary.”

You can read the full blog on the visit here.

MUCH to Discover launch canoes in Mida

Caesar Bita – MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek

Deployment of a new boat in the sea is a community affair. All fisherman, fish traders and community are the lot who lead the way. The ceremony entails fisherman conducting prayers, locally known as Sadaka ya baharini,  on the shore. All fish caught that day is prepared and eaten at the seashore.

Food, mainly rice and fish, is prepared, using sea water, and all eaten at the beach. None of it is taken home. An elder leads prayers on the canoes after which it is pushed into the sea and a maiden trip is done. The elder then offers prayers and pours some the food in the sea. After this the community is served the food. Serving of the food is done one on leaves, mostly of banana.

The new canoes will now take tourists to the many creeks and islands in mida. The islands and areas of interest in mida and for canoe tour include kirepwe, Sudi and green islands, magangani, chafisi, dabaso and sita.

The trips will cost kshs 200/- per person. The youth who were trained in canoe building are the ones who will be sailing the canoes taking tourists. Bidii na Kazi women will manage the fish sales from the basket traps as well as collections from the canoes.

Contemporary coastal themed capulana designs purchased in Maputo November 2019

Women’s Identity, Textiles and Heritage: Coastal Style in Mozambique (WITH Coastal Style)

Women’s Identity, Textiles and Heritage: Coastal Style in Mozambique (WITH Coastal Style) is a one-year project (June 2019-June 2020), researching and promoting women’s identities and concerns linked to marine heritage in Katembe District, Maputo, Mozambique.

The WITH Coastal Style project, supported by the Rising from the Depths Network https://risingfromthedepths.com/withcoastalstyle/, continue to undertake research into the role of material heritage amongst women in coastal Katembe district, across the bay from the Mozambican capital city, Maputo. The project focuses on understanding and highlighting the complex relationship between tradition and change in the lives of women in Katembe through the capulana, a cloth worn by women throughout Mozambique. Through discussion about capulana, the project provides a forum for women to discuss wider issues relating to their lives.

View across the bay to Maputo city from Incassane, Katembe

View across the bay to Maputo city from Incassane, Katembe

The project is investigating contemporary and historical capulana practice through focus group surveys, individual interviews and archival research. For example, project Research Assistants, Emilia Machaiaie and Claudio Mondlate, have been undertaking archival research at University of Eduardo Mondlane. In addition, research at the Iconoteca do Arquivo Histo’rico de Mozambique, has identified photography from the early to mid- 20th century, which provides us with fascinating early visual references to the use of capulana by women in the region, from market scenes to the use of the cloth as a wrapper for new-born babies. Research has also led us to the Centro de Documentacao e Formacao Photographic Archive, Mozambique where there is a collection of photographs taken by the famous Mozambican, Maputo based photojournalist, Ricardo Rangel, whose work includes a series on Katembe, taken in the mid-20th century.

I returned to Mozambique in November to catch up with the Maputo-based team members and to join them for more research visits to Katembe to undertake focus groups and interviews with women identified by Project Co-I Valda Marcos through Romao Vicente and Bernardo Martiaho from the Department of Fisheries. During these visits, the project gathered information from communities in Katembe distributed along the coastline. This was made possible with the support of community leaders. The complexities of liaising with women with busy working lives required flexibility. Many of the women are responsible for the processing and sale of daily catches of fish and for growing vegetable crops on their small plots of land. During my visit there were torrential, and unusually long-lasting bouts of rainfall, attributed by the Katembe community to climate change, which necessitated some interviews to be re-scheduled at short notice as women went to work in their fields to maintain their young crops, particularly precious as the previous season’s drought, also believed to be the result of climate change, had resulted in a seed shortage.

Over three days of research visits in Mahlampfane, Guachene and Incassane neighbourhoods, we were able to reach and speak to a total of sixteen women ranging in age from 19 to 67 years. Focus groups and interviews, in either Shangana or Portuguese languages, were led by Research Assistant Emilia. All the women included in the research were born and raised in Katembe. Many of them are mothers and daughters who still live in close proximity, while others, if not related, are lifelong friends.

These included a focus group in Mahlampfane with three women Ana, Katarina and Zenia who ranged in age from mid-sixties to early twenties. Following our arrival and our introduction to the project, one of them went into her house and returned with three capulana, which she kindly presented as gifts of welcome for each of the team. The capulana is a popular gift for special occasions including birthday, Valentine’s day, naming ceremonies, weddings and funerals.

Zenia, Ana, Katarina and the team wearing our capulana gifts, Mahlampfane

Zenia, Ana, Katarina and the team wearing our capulana gifts, Mahlampfane

The interviews focused on personal capulana collections, which included Cristina, who we first met in July during a focus group. She has an extraordinary collection numbering over 150 different patterned cloths which she had collected over some twenty years.

Cristina and some of her collection including the popular checked capulana design, Guachene

Cristina and some of her collection including the popular checked capulana design, Guachene

In our interviews with mother and daughters Margarida, Tsaura and Rosa, also in Guachene neighbourhood, the role of the capulana as a symbol of shared identity was revealed, when they each showed us cloth with the same design, chosen by their group of family and friends and worn on National Women’s Day celebrations in Katembe in 2018.

Sisters Rosa and Tsaura with their growing collection of capulana, Katembe

Sisters Rosa and Tsaura with their growing collection of capulana, Katembe

We were delighted to welcome Dr Solange Macamo, Rising from the Depths Network Co-ordinator for Mozambique on the visit to Incassane where we held a focus group of nine women aged 32-67 years. The opportunity to participate in the project was greeted with a degree of curiosity and then enthusiasm, with our questions provoking detailed responses and discussion, just as elsewhere in Katembe district.

The focus group and project team, Incassane

The focus group and project team, Incassane

The focus group and project team with Dr Solange Macamo (far left), Incassane

The focus group and project team with Dr Solange Macamo (far left), Incassane

While I was in Maputo we also began the next phase in planning and design of the project exhibition at the Fortress Museum, overseen by Curator and Project Co-I Moises Timba. We will draw on the photographs of the research visits by project photographer Yassmin Forte, and the forthcoming transcriptions of the interview’s audio recordings in Portuguese and English for display content.

Before I returned to Edinburgh I also took the opportunity to visit Casa Pandia with Emilia, a Maputo ‘institution’ trading in capulana, where I bought two more contemporary capulana with coastal themed designs to add to another from the market. These will join those already acquired on my first visit for the Fisheries Museum and National Museums Scotland textile collections. With a total of eleven to date, I’m not sure there are many left to find, but we will continue to look out for more!

The final interviews are scheduled to be completed following the end of my visit and I look forward to more revealing insights into the role of the capulana in the cultural heritage of women in the coastal communities of Katembe.

Contemporary coastal themed capulana designs purchased in Maputo November 2019

Contemporary coastal themed capulana designs purchased in Maputo November 2019

National Museum of Scotland Eduardo Mondlane Fortress Museum and Fisheries Museum Logo
Coastal Hazards in Africa Conference Logo

Coastal Hazards in Africa Conference

Members of the Rising from the Depths Network might be interested in an upcoming conference being held in South Africa:

Coastal Hazards in Africa

October 2020 | Durban, South Africa

The purpose of this meeting is to bring together scientists and managers interested in African coastal zones in order to develop our understanding of these risks and hazards while considering the current state of coastal zones around Africa. Additionally, this meeting provides a platform to discuss and propose measures to address and manage these risks. Click here for the conference website. Submit abstracts by 29 February 2020.

Hidden Histories: untold stories of land and sea

Thembi Mutch (Hidden Histories) has started her own blog where you can follow the progress of her Innovation Project. You can read the first post, “Hidden Histories: untold stories of land and sea” here.

School groups visiting Mida Creek (Field Data August, 2019)

Discovering MUCH in Mida

Wes Forsythe and Caesar Bita – MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek

Marine Cultural Heritage continues to be the focus of the Mida Creek community in Kenya, as skills are developed, put in practise and new facilities constructed to act as a hub for learning, exhibitions and cultural events. Supported by the RftD project ‘MUCH to discover in Mida’, the work takes place on a beautiful part of the Kenyan coast – between Watamu National Marine Park and Arabuko Sokoke Forest Park. The parks contain important species of plants and animals, including extensive mangroves and herds of elephant and buffalo. The idyllic natural environment belies some of the challenges facing the community in this area including poorly regulated coastal development, timber depletion, unresolved land issues, social conflict and poverty. In addition, there persists the challenge of engendering a sense of ownership in an environment where exclusionary park protection measures can seem at odds with the needs of local residents.

Map showing Mida Creek

Mida Creek

In order to reconnect and recognise ‘people in the parks’ we have taken an approach to marine cultural heritage which seeks to enhance our appreciation of the past and celebrate the present. Activities associated with this approach include a survey of current marine practise and economies, and in recent weeks a campaign of archaeological fieldwork. The intention is that these activities will inform educational work with schools and the park managers, a community-run exhibition space, the recognition and development of coastal economies and policy recommendations.

Madam Arfa Salim Baya presents on MUCH at Mida Secondary school which is located at Mida Creek (Field Data August, 2019)

Madam Arfa Salim Baya presents on MUCH at Mida Secondary school which is located at Mida Creek (Field Data August, 2019)

School groups visiting Mida Creek (Field Data August, 2019)

School groups visiting Mida Creek (Field Data August, 2019)

The archaeological survey successfully uncovered new evidence of human settlement around Mida, including sites that likely served as an outport for the famous Medieval settlement at nearby Gedi and others which demonstrated an intimate understanding of the marine environment. These included ancient landing places sited near deep water to permit vessels to anchor in proximity at all states of the tide; trading locations at the edge of major routeways into the bay or settlements overlooking channels through the mangrove that would have afforded a degree of privacy and protection.

The MUCH Survey team interviewing elders at Kisiwani (Field Data August, 2019)

The MUCH Survey team interviewing elders at Kisiwani (Field Data August, 2019)

Our visit to Arabuko Sokoke was aided by Wataa elder, Geoffrey Mashauri who as a Park botanist had both inherited and direct knowledge to pinpoint forest sites once occupied by these elusive hunters, who later acted as middlemen with Swahili traders. As the largest coastal forest in East Africa, Arabuko-Sokoke presents serious challenges to archaeological investigation. Not only is the forest dense and strewn with leaf litter, but the presence of large animals require the accompaniment of a team of fully-armed rangers (our thanks in this regard to Kenya Forest Service and Kenya Wildlife Service). Undeterred, Mr Mashauri led us deep within the forest to uncover evidence of Wataa sites spanning hundreds of years of occupation and predate the better known Swahili culture of this coast.

The MUCH Survey team inside Arabuko Sokoke Forest under KWS guard and Mr. Geoffrey Mashauri on the right (Field Data August, 2019)

The MUCH Survey team inside Arabuko Sokoke Forest under KWS guard and Mr. Geoffrey Mashauri on the right (Field Data August, 2019)

Wavy lines pottery from Waata sites in Arabuko Sokoke Forest (Field Data August, 2019)

Wavy lines pottery from Waata sites in Arabuko Sokoke Forest (Field Data August, 2019)

Geoffrey was not the only member of the local community providing advice, diplomacy and orientation on the shore. We were joined by fishermen, farmers, activists, and on one occasion a self-appointed witch doctor! The hospitality of coastal residents was magnificent, as was that of our key partners Bidii na Kazi (‘labour and effort’) women’s group, who are in the process of eagerly documenting their efforts to put MUCH training into practise through the production of honey, butterflies and baskets. Much hilarity was had as they reviewed their first forays into film-making, however it was also clear that their efforts are beginning to improve the well-being of their households. The group have successfully identified marine resources that can be converted into economic opportunities. Some of these, such as palm bushes have traditionally been a source for basketry; others provide a distinct taste of coastal life, such as the black honey made by bees browsing the mangrove forest. Our determined community partners have begun to see real returns on their efforts as their produce has successfully sold at local markets.

Bidii na Kazi women display butterfly pupa for sale. These are now being grown at Mida (Field Data August, 2019)

Bidii na Kazi women display butterfly pupa for sale. These are now being grown at Mida (Field Data August, 2019)

Over the next months we will be continuing in our efforts to establish a boat house and yard to act as a hub for education and skills as we commission the reproduction of some of the craft traditional to the creek. It will also provide exhibition space in conjunction with a café for coastal crafts and the results of our archaeological and contemporary marine cultural surveys. We will also be launching a digital platform for the collaborative documentary work undertaken with our community groups, providing a key measure of progress and means to showcase their efforts.

“We learnt what it means to do Interdisciplinary Research” University of Dar es Salaam Students Narrate

Elgidius Ichumbaki, Edward Pollard, Jean-Christophe Comte

The Kisima Project

A team of researchers consisting of coastal archaeologists, hydrologists and cultural heritage management scholars have returned from fieldwork on Kilwa Kisiwani Island, in southern Tanzania where they are implementing the Kisima Project. The Kisima Project funded by the Rising from the Depth Network administered by the University of Nottingham investigates the possible links between freshwater conditions (presence, absence, salinity) in the stone-lined historic water wells and the economic rise and fall of a maritime community in East Africa. As part of capacity building, fieldwork for the Kisima Project involved students from the University of Dar Es Salaam (UDSM) to provide them hands-on experience of some of the theories they learn in class. UDSM’s Archaeology and Heritage Management programmes’ students namely Claudia Lubao, Neema Munisi, Hassan Juma, Betuel Mbogoro, Irene Reuben, and Javern Sabas share their experiences.

On the final fieldwork day, Elgidius Ichumbaki asked these students to share experiences gained from participating in the Kisima project field activities. Their joint response was, ‘we learnt what it means to undertake interdisciplinary research.’

They explained that the experience gained from working with a team of professionals was exceptional as they never had such a chance before. “Working with the hydrologists, archaeologists and maritime heritage scholars from Tanzania, France, Britain and Ireland confirmed what I recently heard from one of my instructors that ‘the best research projects must be multidisciplinary’” said Javern Sabas, one of the participating students pursuing BA Heritage Management.

Regardless of whether it was one’s first, second, or third time to visit Kilwa Kisiwani, they expressed their perceptions that the visit this time was special. “…. having studied at the University of Dar es Salaam for three years and having heard about Kilwa Kisiwani in six of the thirty-two courses I have studied, it was a shame that I had have no opportunity to visit Kilwa. Kisima project has quenched my thirst to visit Kilwa and learn about the Swahili civilization”, Irene Reuben, another group member narrated.

Cementing the same point, Claudia Lubao said, ‘…. I have visited Kilwa Kisiwani about three times, but my experience this time is different.  Visiting the families in Kisiwani, sharing food with them in their homes, as well as discussing issues about Kilwa history made me see another side of Kilwa Kisiwani that I didn’t know.’

Claudia Lubao (in the middle) discussing various project issues with a group of women from Kilwa Kisiwani.

Figure 1: Claudia Lubao (in the middle) discussing various project issues with a group of women from Kilwa Kisiwani.

Photo by E. Ichumbaki

Intervening the conversations, Irene Reuben added…. ‘although I have attended two practical training in archaeology, I have never been given opportunity to practice some of the skills such as undertaking mapping, interacting with local people to record their narratives as well as working together with other fellow students to address particular topics. Working together with the hydrogeologists gave me an exceptional experience.’

Likewise, another student explains how taking part in the project triggered a passion for becoming a professional photographer. “One of my interests has been to produce images that communicate a particular message to people of all walks of life. It came as a surprise to learn that I was supposed to capture images of various wells we mapped and excavated as implementation of the project continued” Hassan Juma, another team member informs.

Hassan Juma taking a photo of a historic well at one of the monument in Kilwa Kisiwani

Figure 2: Hassan Juma taking a photo of a historic well at one of the monument in Kilwa Kisiwani

Photo by E. Ichumbaki

Of much interest was to learn that the project changed some of perceptions they had regarding STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects as one of the students narrated. “The belief of many students in Tanzania is that ‘science and engineering subjects are hard to pursue.’ Participating in Kisima project has allowed me to question this wisdom! For nearly one week I managed to learn how to record geographic coordinates and elevation of wells using a differential GPS, configuring and installing groundwater loggers in the wells, and using these instruments to understand changing water level, salinity, and temperature. These methods are commonly regarded as ‘too scientific’ to be accomplished by students undertaking arts subjects. In fact, it is not very complicated to do ‘science’ as part of a multidisciplinary project” informs Javern Sabas, another project member.

Javern Sabas (in the middle) listening to Dr. Jean-Christophe Comte (right) from the University of Aberdeen and Dr. Simon Melchioly (left) from UDSM.

Figure 3: Javern Sabas (in the middle) listening to Dr. Jean-Christophe Comte (right) from the University of Aberdeen and Dr. Simon Melchioly (left) from UDSM.

Photo by E. Ichumbaki

The students have gone further to explain their interactions and engagements with some members of the local community. “I could not believe that the local people were eager to learn about our research topic and give constructive comments. Within a short period of our stay, some local people became aware of our research, gave ideas and advised strategies of how to collect data. Kisima Project has allowed me to physically witness the practice of ‘community archaeology’ I learnt in class” narrated Betuel Edson, another group member.

Agreeing with Betuel, Claudia Lubao added, “Kisima Project has enabled me to interact with fishermen and fish with them. Being the only woman in a team of six men fishing in a traditional boat, and listening to the songs fishermen sing or narrate as they travel from the beach to the ocean, undertake fishing activities, navigate back to the beach, land their dhows, and sell fish on the beach was the first time I experienced these activities.”

On a similar note, Neema Munisi comments that “local people’s narratives, myths, stories, beliefs, and customs about ancient wells are very interesting and must have contributed to preserving wells and ensuring sustainable water use.” She further narrates that “…. for me seeing beads that are made from the local aragonite minerals was exciting and evidence of the highest level of civilization of Kilwa people during the ancient times”.

The students also faced challenges during fieldwork, and they expressed the troubles they went through. ‘Some local people asked for money before they talked to me and others were not ready to hold discussions. I did not have money to offer them’ says Claudia Lubao.

Neema Munisi (left) and Irene Reuben (right) filling well survey forms

Figure 4: Neema Munisi (left) and Irene Reuben (right) filling well survey forms

Photo by E. Ichumbaki

On her side, Irene Reuben notes that “…people had perceptions that our movement from one well to another, asking them about the problems associated with water, and establishing archaeological trenches nearby the wells would directly improve their water access, hence, solve their water shortage problem. Indeed, it was a disappointment for the local people to learn that our research will not immediately solve their acute problem despite being a first step towards it.”

Language was another challenge the students faced as they were collecting ethnographic information. Claudia Lubao narrates that ‘some elders code-mixed and code-switched Kiswahili and their local languages, the later of which was unclear to me’.

“For me, the difficult moment was when I interacted with a boy; a student at Kilwa Muslim College. He completely ignored me and would not answer my questions. When I asked him about his name, he responded that his name is ‘mume wangu’ meaning he is my husband. Such response was a disappointment, but it did not stop me from carrying on with the interview”, says Irene Reuben.

The gereza (fort), part of the remaining monuments indicative of civilization in Kilwa Kisiwani Island

‘The Ocean Shapes Our Social Behaviour’ –Wives of Fishermen in Kilwa Kisiwani Island, Tanzania Narrate

Elgidius Ichumbaki, Edward Pollard, Jean-Christophe Comte

The Kisima Project

Sources of fresh water are vital, and also social places, for the Kilwa Kisiwani maritime community, as it is the case amongst many other communities. A team of researchers from the University of Dar es Salaam, University of Aberdeen, and Ireland’s Discovery Programme continue to investigate the role of freshwater wells, and seawater intrusion, in the Swahili civilization that flourished between the 11th and 18th centuries, and the lessons it may yield in terms of sustainable development. We undertake this project at Kilwa Kisiwani inhabited by an island community exploiting the Indian Ocean environment along the southern coast of Tanzania. Along with archaeological surveys and excavations, we are recording narratives, myths, stories, and other forms of intangible heritage that are linked to groundwater use, salinity and freshwater management within the Island.

A team of archaeologists and geologists at one of the historic well in Kilwa Kisiwani

Figure 1: A team of archaeologists and geologists at one of the historic well in Kilwa Kisiwani

Photo by E. Ichumbaki

In various discussions and interviews we have held with local women fetching water at the wells, we have noticed that in addition to being social places, freshwater wells are centres where women, the majority of whom are wives of fishermen, narrate to one another ‘the rewards’ and ‘the cruelties’ they face. The benefits and obstacles they encounter are part and parcel of their lives, which emanate from being ‘sea people’. Considering this scenario, we aimed to answer the question ‘what does the ocean/sea mean to the wives of fishermen’ concentrating at various wells to fetch water?’ Interestingly, we have found that memories, narratives, stories, songs, and other forms of intangible heritage linked to navigation and fishing activities continue to shape the Islanders’ daily behaviour. Here, we report our findings.

Women have informed the research team that what the fishermen say, narrate or sing as they travel from the beach to the ocean, undertake fishing activities, navigate back to the beach, land their dhows, and sell fish on the beach has shaped the women’s behaviour within the Island.

‘If you cheat your husband and his friends find out about your behaviour, they will inform him accordingly. His friends will not tell him directly but through singing various songs. They do so as they are on the way to go for fishing, in the ocean as they fish, on the way back from fishing, or at the beach selling their fish. When this situation happens, you (wife) are humiliated and your husband is ashamed of your behaviour too’—one woman informed the team.

A team of researchers and a group of women discussing various Kisima project issues.

Figure 2: A team of researchers and a group of women discussing various Kisima project issues.

Photo by Neema Munisi.

Javern Tenga (with an orange reflector), a student from the University of Dar es Salaam measuring the water-depth at the great-well—the main water supply in the Island

Figure 3: Javern Tenga (with an orange reflector), a student from the University of Dar es Salaam measuring the water-depth at the great-well—the main water supply in the Island.

Photo by Jean-Christophe Comte

‘Although foreigners may see the song as totally unrelated to the fishing activities, for the Islanders, the message is clear to everyone,’ another woman narrates. She further informed that, “the song mentions a name of a lady given a name of ‘meno ya chauma’ (biting teeth) or that she has bad habits.” As singing continues, the fishing crew evaluate themselves and if one realizes that it is his wife who cheated him, he divorces her upon returning home.

One woman added that, because of this scenario, women in the island of Kilwa Kisiwani are very careful to ‘misbehave’ especially when their husbands have gone out fishing. ‘If you don’t respect yourself, thinking that your husband is away fishing and that your acts will not be known, then, you will suffer the consequences,’ another woman insisted.

Apart from the songs that concern marriage, there are other songs and narratives which shape the daily lives of both fishermen and their families. For example, there are songs, which warn people of the island to be extra careful such as if an accident happens, they are in position to rescue each other as they navigate from the island to the mainland. ‘We are not allowed to continue carrying anything while in the boat. Be it luggage or children, as soon as we get into the boat, we must lay it down. Doing that is important so that if anything happens, then, other members in the boat will rescue you and/or your child,’ says one woman. These views from a woman residing in the island is shared by a fisherman who insists that ‘getting into the boat with shoes is like being against the voyage to where others intend to go.’

The ocean seems to have shaped people on the island to live communal lives by sharing the few resources they obtain from the ocean. ‘All newly-built fishing vessels or purchased nets must be acknowledged by many villagers; so, the first and/or second catch are distributed to neighbours of a villager who make the vessel and/or purchase new nets. According to over twenty interviewed women, the purpose of offering the first catch is to ‘give life to the new vessel or net’ so that it gains recognition in the society’.

Among the songs accompanying fishing activities is one that raises awareness of the marine resources that are protected within Tanzanian laws. Some of the fishermen, for instance, as they go for fishing, sing songs which remind them not to fish the protected marine resources. “Turtles are undesirable, totally undesirable; Whales are desirable? No undesirable! Dolphin is undesirable, very undesirable” some fishermen sing as they go fishing.

Some songs and other narratives warn young fishermen to be careful and avoid dangerous fish. ‘When you plan fishing, do not go alone. Going fishing as a group will save you from being attacked by venomous fish such as a stingray or stonefish. Even if you get stung, your companions will save you’ says one fisherman. Indeed, these stories, narratives and songs, which are linked to the fishing activities, seem to have been and continue to shape the lives and behaviour of people in Kilwa Kisiwani.

As it is today, islanders, whose daily life is supported by groundwater, Kilwa Kisiwani’s civilization was at a much larger scale supported by the use of groundwater through the 26 water wells the Kisima Project have located distributed across the island. Today, most of the known wells are dry and of those who remain in use by the small fishing community, most are too saline for drinking. Kisima project is trying to gather archaeological and hydrological evidence to understand the role of groundwater and saline intrusion, another direct influence of the ocean on islanders’ daily life, on the rise and fall of Kilwa Kisiwani great civilization and use the lessons learnt to inform future water security.

The island of Kilwa Kisiwani is located about 300 km south of Dar es Salaam adjacent to the Tanzanian coast. An ancient town on this island reflects the fact that the inhabitants of the Swahili coast were key players in the transoceanic Indian Ocean trade. Between the 11th and 18th centuries AD, Kilwa Kisiwani was a wealthy port that regularly served as the hub of trade between the Indian Ocean and the interior of eastern Africa. Products such as cloth, glass beads, perfumes, Chinese porcelain, silver, Persian faience and carnelian were imported in exchange for ivory, gold, animal hides and mangrove timber. As a result of this, in 1331, the Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta considered Kilwa Kisiwani as ‘one of the most beautiful cities of the world’.

The gereza (fort), part of the remaining monuments indicative of civilization in Kilwa Kisiwani Island

Figure 4: The gereza (fort), part of the remaining monuments indicative of civilization in Kilwa Kisiwani Island.

Photo by Elgidius Ichumbaki

Kilwa Kisiwani’s cultural significance is exceptional and transcends national (Tanzania) boundaries. The island (and its monuments) is of common importance for present and future generations of humanity. It was because of this importance that in 1981, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee inscribed the Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani on the World Heritage List.

View from the flight to Inhambane with coastal dunes and lakes in Vilankulos

CoastSnap Mozambique project is launched! A citizen-science coastal monitoring initiative (Part3)

Cari Ballesteros

In the final days of our hectic trip around Mozambique, the teams from UEM and BU flew from Maputo to Inhambane on the 3rd of August. Luciana and I, with our cameras ready to take the best shots of the Mozambique coast from the air, were amazed by the landscape beneath us. The coastal formation of the Macaneta spit in Maputo, coastal dune ridges, river meanders and disconnected meanders were like scenes from another planet. The lakes near Vilankulos and the coast from Vilankulos to Inhambane, the Bazaruto Archipelagos National Park introduced me to shades of blue I had never seen before. The Bay of Inhambane was no less fascinating, with the mixture of blue sea and white corallines sand dunes, and the coastal mangroves in the rivermouths were breath-taking!

View from the flight to Inhambane with coastal dunes and lakes in Vilankulos

View from the flight to Inhambane with coastal dunes and lakes in Vilankulos

View of Inhambane Bay and mangrove forest

View of Inhambane Bay and mangrove forest

In a taxi on our way to our last study area, Praia do Tofo, a landscape covered with palm trees revealed that I was in Inhambane. My Co-I, Pedrito from Ilha, had advised me previously “you are going to like Tofo, with its palm trees!”, but not only the vegetation was different to that seen on my journey around Nampula, with its cashew, banana and baobab trees, or the scrub vegetation around Maputo, the houses were built with the different materials and vegetation available at each location. This was interesting for me, not only from a handcraft perspective and the use of local-natural materials, but also because of my ongoing research (within the Rising from the Depths project) creating a social vulnerability index for the region, where I consider the vulnerability of constructions to the effects of natural coastal hazards.

In Praia do Tofo, from our beachside accommodation, we noticed a big spray coming from the sea. To my surprise and delight, it quickly became apparent that this was coming from a passing whale, on its migration from the north of Mozambique to South Africa. But it wasn’t alone, we had a constant view of spray and tale splashes, leaving me fascinated and Luciana and I glued to the binoculars. I guess I am not the only one in love with the area, as new developers, often not local, are creating resorts along the giant dunes, to meet the increasing demand from tourism.

After the final meeting with the Inhambane municipality administrators, to ensure they were content with the installation of the CoastSnap station in Tofo beach, we installed the station and carried out the beach survey on 6th August. The last workshop took place in the Escola Superior de Hotelaria e Turismo de Inhambane (ESHTI-UEM) organised by Dr Ernesto Macaringue, Lecturer at ESHTI-UEM, and Dr Jaime Palalane. The well-attended workshop comprised mainly of fishers’ association members, local NGOs, university students, teachers, and culture and tourism department representatives. The workshop highlighted the importance of beach monitoring and the potential for students at ESHTI and from local schools to work within the project. Some interesting ideas were raised in terms of how the project can be disseminated, such as mapping the stations, producing flyers for the tourism office and market, an exhibition of images in schools and museums and the use of images to analyse the human impacts to the beach, as well as documenting the different uses and users of the beach, and its carrying capacity.

Participants of the workshop in Inhambane-Tofo beach.

Participants of the workshop in Inhambane-Tofo beach.

Dr Ernesto Macaringue taking the first photo “snap” from the CoastSnap station in Tofo beach (#coastsnaptofo)

Dr Ernesto Macaringue taking the first photo “snap” from the CoastSnap station in Tofo beach (#coastsnaptofo)

My time in Mozambique provided a fantastic experience to better understand the importance of protecting a unique coastal heritage, intrinsically connected with the lives of the people who live there. I was able to gain an insight into the major changes taking place (e.g. occupation and development of coastal areas), which makes me think about the issues faced by overdeveloped coasts in other parts of the world (e.g. the Mediterranean region I know so well). Appreciating the local socio-economic needs and the fantastic natural attractions, visiting Mozambique enhanced my interest in research that can contribute to more sustainable coastal development, where livelihoods and future generations are not compromised. CoastSnap Mozambique is helping to provide to a better understanding of the natural-physical capacity of beaches to protect against coastal hazards, their social and cultural relevance and the importance of the collection of data for best practice and management of this sensitive and changeable coastal fringe.

The next steps on the project are the analysis of the photos received and the continued dissemination of the results. After meeting with school teachers during the workshops, school projects will soon be developed, where students will work on different activities to integrate the CoastSnap project within their curricula.

Participate in the project! If you are travelling to any of the three CoastSnap Mozambique sites: Ilha de Moçambique, Ponta do Ouro (Maputo) and Tofo beach (Inhambane), find the CoastSnap stand, take a picture from there and share it using hashtag #coastsnapilha, #coastsnapponta and/or #coastsnaptofo. Find out more in our Facebook page (@CoastSnapMoz), the Rising from the Depths website or send an email to coastsnap.mozambique@gmail.com

The second CoastSnap Mozambique workshop in Ponta do Ouro

CoastSnap Mozambique project is launched! A citizen-science coastal monitoring initiative (Part2)

Cari Ballesteros

Continuing our work in the CoastSnap Mozambique project, we drove from Maputo to Ponta do Ouro, a popular touristic spot about 12 km north of the border with South Africa. In the recent past, the journey from Maputo to Ponta used to take over 4 hours and require a 4×4 vehicle. The new paved road has facilitate access and the journey now takes about 90 minutes, which is expected to increase the number of tourists and accelerate development pressures. This was one of the drivers underpinning the decision to install a CoastSnap station in Ponta.

Ponta is a beautiful spot, with a beach-dune ecosystem where new hotels and restaurants have been established on the dune ridge. This is in contrast to Ilha de Moçambique, where narrow beaches are surrounded by a coralline platform and bounded by settlements. Not only the physical configuration of the beaches was different, but also how the spaces were used. In Ilha, I could understand the importance of local fisheries on the livelihoods of the population. As a person who enjoys crafts, I was amazed by the boats in Ilha, handmade with tree bark, but at the same time, as a former professional lifeguard, I was fearful of the risk taken by the fishers using such a small “shell”, exposed to the weather and sea conditions. In Ponta do Ouro, although I had the opportunity to see some mussel collectors in rocky areas when the tide was out, the sea and the beach is principally a provider of tourism, particularly now with good road access to/from Maputo and South Africa.

Our activities for the day went as planned, in the morning we held the workshop in the hotel Kaya-Kweru, where attendees arrived slowly. The meeting started with a welcome from the Director of the Marine Reserve, who gave a brief overview of the Marine Reserve and the work they are doing there. Among the attendees were local authorities, a journalist, entrepreneurs, hoteliers, Marine Reserve employees and school teachers. After the presentation of the project by Dr Jaime Palalane and Dr Luciana Esteves, and while working in small groups, some good ideas emerged from the participants in the ways the project should be disseminated, such as the key points of the workshop though local WhatsApp groups, and other potential uses of the project, such as focusing on litter problems, or monitoring the dunes.

The second CoastSnap Mozambique workshop in Ponta do Ouro

The second CoastSnap Mozambique workshop in Ponta do Ouro

Participants of the workshop in Ponta do Ouro

Participants of the workshop in Ponta do Ouro

After the workshop, the team worked on the installation of the CoastSnap station and the beach survey. Work completed in Ponta, we returned to Maputo to fly from there to Inhambane, and install a CoastSnap station in Tofo beach. You can find out about Tofo in the next blog.

Fieldwork in Ponta do Ouro for the installation of the CoastSnap station

Fieldwork in Ponta do Ouro for the installation of the CoastSnap station

Dr Nordino taking the first photo “snap” of the beach from the CoastSnap station in Ponta do Ouro (#coastsnapponta)

Dr Nordino taking the first photo “snap” of the beach from the CoastSnap station in Ponta do Ouro (#coastsnapponta)

Participate in the project! If you are travelling to any of the three CoastSnap Mozambique sites: Ilha de Moçambique, Ponta do Ouro (Maputo) and Tofo beach (Inhambane), find the CoastSnap stand, take a picture from there and share it using hashtag #coastsnapilha, #coastsnapponta and/or #coastsnaptofo. Find out more in our Facebook page (@CoastSnapMoz), the Rising from the Depths website or send an email to coastsnap.mozambique@gmail.com

Measuring, weighing and selling the day’s lobster catch - J. Skinner, April 2019

Rising from the Depths Public Lecture – University of York

The Rising from the Depths Network are holding a public lecture on Monday 7 October at 6pm at the University of York, hosted by Stephanie Wynne-Jones.

The evening will include three presentations:

After the talk there will be time to speak with the project time from the Network and well as some of our Innovation Project leads.

The event will take place in room K/133 Kings Mannor at the University of York at 6pm on October 7.

For more information email Stephanie Wynne-Jones at stephanie.wynne-jones@york.ac.uk.

Leovigildo Cumbe taking the first photo “snap” from the CoastSnap station in -Praia de Miami-, the east site of the island (#coastsnapilha)

CoastSnap Mozambique project is launched! A citizen-science coastal monitoring initiative (Part1)

Cari Ballesteros

Last July I had the opportunity to travel to Mozambique to launch the CoastSnap Mozambique project. CoastSnap is a citizen science project in which participants take pictures of a beach from a particular viewpoint were a fixed metal stand is installed. The stand holds the smartphones and ensures pictures are always taken from the same position. These pictures are later shared with the project team using social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) or email. This allows the project team to build, over time, a database of images to understand shoreline behaviour, to analyse erosion, storm impacts and social beach uses. You can find CoastSnap stations in 40 locations across 10 countries and counting! We have extended the CoastSnap community to the African continent, with four stations installed in Moçambique: Ponta do Ouro (close to the border with South Africa), Tofo (in Inhambane) and two in Ilha de Moçambique.

After a long journey from London, I landed in Nampula on the 29th July, where I met my collaborators from University Eduardo Mondlane (UEM), Dr Nordino Muaievela and Leovigildo Cumbe. They had travelled from Maputo to coordinate the installation of the CoastSnap frames and the beach topography survey. We travelled by road to Ilha de Moçambique (a fascinating and somewhat frantic 3hour journey, which included, at one point, a pig on a moped!). Local collaborators were the partners from UNILURIO, Dr Pedrito Cambrao and Pinho Cololo waiting for us with a warm welcome.

The next day, I had the opportunity to appreciate the strong local connection with the sea. After checking the sites to decide on the best locations for the CoastSnap stations, we started with the installation and the beach survey. A community workshop was planned for the next day and we wanted the frames installed to showcase to participants. As part of the beach survey Leovigildo flew a drone to obtain accurate data of the beach elevations, which definitely produced a small audience of interested locals!

Dr Nordino Muaievela and Leovigildo Cumbe with the Installation of the CoastSnap station in Ilha de Moçambique and beach survey

Dr Nordino Muaievela and Leovigildo Cumbe with the Installation of the CoastSnap station in Ilha de Moçambique and beach survey

On 31st July, the first CoastSnap Mozambique workshop in Ilha de Moçambique organized by UNILURIO officially launched the project. With a healthy attendance, the workshop comprised of government representatives, school teachers, fishers’ association, hoteliers and students among others. The workshop started with opening and welcoming speeches by the Director of the Faculty of Social and Humanities Sciences at UNILURIO, the President of the Municipality of Ilha de Moçambique, the Administrator of the district and Dr Pedrito Cambrao. They highlighted the importance of the project outlining the need to better understand beach behaviour, particularly after the recent cyclones, which had some impacts in Ilha. During the workshop, local traditional dancing called “tufo” and the University Chorus delighted the participants with their singing, music, movements and colourful capulanas (a sarong-style wrap-around skirt).

UNILURIO chorus singing the University imno and representation of traditional dancing with the association of “Tufo Assanate”

UNILURIO chorus singing the University imno and representation of traditional dancing with the association of “Tufo Assanate”

With the help of a translator, I was able to introduce the project, highlighting the importance of beach monitoring and the ways participants and the local population can contribute. Finally, Dr Nordino Muaievela gave an overview of the importance of coastal areas in Mozambique and the main instruments and activities used by UEM to monitor the coast. Some interesting questions were raised from the participants, such as how this project may help to put Mozambique, and in particular Ilha de Moçambique, in the global spotlight. They also highlighted the necessity of advertising the project to reach more people, and some examples of how this could be achieved, for example by creating a video that could be displayed in the local tourist office and on social media.

Dr Caridad Ballesteros presenting the project

Dr Caridad Ballesteros presenting the project

To close the workshop, all attendees were taken to one of the two beaches where the CoastSnap stand had been installed. The team gave a demonstration of how to position a mobile phone in order to capture the beach and the ways to share this with the project partners.

Presentation of the CoastSnap station near the Fortress beach

Presentation of the CoastSnap station near the Fortress beach

Leovigildo Cumbe taking the first photo “snap” from the CoastSnap station in -Praia de Miami-, the east site of the island (#coastsnapilha)

Leovigildo Cumbe taking the first photo “snap” from the CoastSnap station in -Praia de Miami-, the east site of the island (#coastsnapilha)

As our trip in Ilha came to an end, we flew to the capital Maputo and from drove to Ponta do Ouro, in the southern part of the province of Maputo. Waiting there was Dr Jaime Palalane, co-investigator of the project from UEM, and Dr Luciana Esteves from BU, who had missed the work in Ilha due to flight delays disrupting her travel. You can follow what we did in Ponta do Ouro in the next blog.

Participate in the project! If you are travelling to any of the three CoastSnap Mozambique sites: Ilha de Moçambique, Ponta do Ouro (Maputo) and Tofo beach (Inhambane), find the CoastSnap stand, take a picture from there and share it using hashtag #coastsnapilha, #coastsnapponta and/or #coastsnaptofo. Find out more in our Facebook page (@CoastSnapMoz), the Rising from the Depths website or send an email to coastsnap.mozambique@gmail.com

People rushing towards the boat as it is docked on a good day.

Weather information and livelihoods in Mafia Island

Fasco Chengula (University of Roehampton PhD Student)

Fasco Chengula (PhD research student, University of Roehampton) in the Field in Mafia Island, Tanzania

Having completed all the administrative logistics and research clearance from relevant authorities, I finally arrived in Mafia archipelago, one of the most important Indian Ocean ancient trading networks, scattered over the Indian Ocean 21 km off the Rufiji River Delta in central Tanzania, home to whale sharks, ancient Swahili city ruins of Kua, Chole and Kisimani Mafia as well as a world class scuba and snorkeling diving center.  I had an opportunity to introduce myself and the research I am doing to the Mafia District Commissioner (DC), District Administrative Secretary (DAS), and District Executive Director (DED) and met a number of stakeholders relevant to my research: heads of Department at Mafia District Council (e.g. Fisheries officer, Community Development officer, Land officer, Natural resource and environment officer, Tourism officer and Agricultural officers); Mafia Marine Park;  Kua Ancient Swahili town conservation society; Mafia Airport Meteorological section; Mafia Island Lodge Diving centre (great users of weather data for diving excursion) ; Fishing  groups in Kilindoni town and Jibondo Island and women fishing groups.

Plate 2: A view of Kilindoni Port, Mafia Island as you Land down at the Mafia Airport. Photo by Fasco Chengula

Plate 3: Whale sharks are a popular tourist attraction in Mafia, and a contributor to local economy and, revenue for Mafia District Council. To see this incredible marine mammal, you must consult local fishermen who possess enormous local ecological knowledge of the ocean and its bio-physical resources. Photo by Fasco Chengula

Plate 4: King of Kua remains of a double storied palace at the Ancient Kua Swahili city ruins in Juani Island, Mafia. Photos: Fasco Chengula

Small-scale rustic fisheries activities are a strong component of the local livelihoods and economy in the Island. Small scale farming (food and cash crops such as rice and coconuts respectively), tourism, small business activities and livestock keeping are also practiced. Mafia islands are also known for boat building which is justly famous throughout East Africa, with hand tools and hand-forged nails to create the jahazis, dhows, mashuas and ngalawas you will see in Mafia.

Mafia’s weather and oceanic conditions exhibit certain features that are unique to Coastal Tanzania and East Africa. Being highly influenced by trade wind systems (Northeast monsoon December to April, and southeast monsoon June to October) and pronounced moisture convergence in Indian Ocean sea breezes, Mafia Archipelago is the highest receiver of rainfall in coastal Tanzania

The lunar cycle, not only controls fishing schedules, but also influences most of the tourist activities (diving excursions to experience marine life such as swimming along with whale shark/ school of whale sharks, shoals of fish, turtles  and coral life). Weather information not only helps tour guides (boatmen) to truck marine organisms that are of interests to tourists and obtain the best visibility for their guests but also to avoid strong currents and ensure safety.

Plate 5: Top, Fishermen preparing fishing nets and boats for night fishing; Bottom, fishermen offloading fish/landing from day fishing.

Movements from one island to another in Mafia can only be done using rustic boats, and dhows whose operations and schedules is depend on weather and tides. Swahili phrases such as “Bahari/ pwani ikiwa shwari, in shaa Allah” (in case the ocean is calm, God willing) are common phrases you can hear when people conclude a plan/agreement of activity schedule for the next day. The Kua Ruins in Juani Island extending over more than 40 acres with a large double storied palace is an archaeological site from the 12th Century, established by settlers from Kilwa can be accessed by boat across the Bay from Utende only during the high tides.  The Kua Ancient town preservation Society formed by residents of Juani Island are the only certified local tour guides who stays at the entrance gate close to the boat landing site to receive guests only when its high tide. “We do not expect visitors during low tide, since the tides are not predictable; we depend on information from experienced fishers’ fishing around the area” said the Kua Ancient town preservation Society chair when I visited the site.

At the far south-western tip of Mafia, is the Kisimani Mafia, a submerged old town. Most of its ruins are highly susceptible to ocean wave erosion whose strength, magnitude and frequency is believed to have increased over the recent years due to rising sea level.

Plate 6: Still Standing (top) and almost gone (bottom) water well ruins along the beach of Kisimani Mafia ancient town whose part is said to have been submerged.

Plate 7: Water well built in the times of yore of the Kisimani Mafia ancient town which Still in use today by the local community.

The focus of this study is to explore and document ethnography of the intangible marine local and indigenous knowledge heritage of weather forecasting (LIKS) among fishing communities in Mafia Island, and to investigate their role in strengthening coastal rural livelihoods amidst changing climate in Tanzania. This research is being conducted at a time when LIKS in weather and climate is lacking in the scientific literature, and highly needed to inform international policy processes. This study is also at the core of the intangible marine cultural heritage for which the UNESCO’s Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems Programme (LINKS) was established in 2002. Coming blogs will feature how local fishers in Mafia Island predict weather using knowledge acquired through years of experience in interacting with the ocean.

People rushing towards the boat as it is docked on a good day.

Sensing the Marine Environment: Everyday experiences of a fishing community

Victor Alati (University of Roehampton PhD Student)

I am conducting my fieldwork at Gazi – a fishing village located about 60 km south of Mombasa along the Kenyan coast. Gazi is one of the major fish-landing sites along the Kenyan coast. It is mostly known for its efforts in the conservation and restoration of mangrove resources. There are over 200 fishers deriving their livelihood from the sea. Fishing gears predominantly being used include: ringnets, gillnets, handlines, spearguns and basket traps.

My study aims to utilize ethnographic approaches to understand fisher’s sociocultural experiences, practices, beliefs, opinions, moralities, values, identities and way of life through identifying their sensory categories and meanings and to test these existing approaches. It will mainly rely on participant observation and interviews with fishers to produce day-by-day written, descriptive details that are part of fishers’ daily round of life.

Ringnet fishers preparing to go fishing early in the morning

Figure 1:Ringnet fishers preparing to go fishing early in the morning. Each ringnet crew comprises of about 30 fishermen.

My observations each day begin very early in the morning at the beach as fishers prepare to leave. By midday, fishers begin to return from fishing grounds with the catch. The fish are weighed and then sold to fish traders.

On a good day, ringnet fishers can land tonnes of fish. Fishers make phone calls to fish traders and community members while at sea to inform them about the good catch. Everyone in the village is overjoyed when large quantities of fish are landed. At the beach, large numbers of fish traders and community members are observed eagerly waiting for the boat to dock. Children are also seen playing at the beach. When the boats dock, people are seen rushing towards the fishers to welcome them back.

People rushing towards the boat as it is docked on a good day.

Fig. 2: People rushing towards the boat as it is docked on a good day. On this particular day, over 100 kg of fish was given out free of charge to the community members to celebrate the bumper harvest.

Since there are currently no storage facilities at the landing site, all the landed fish is sold while still fresh. “On a good day like this one, the smell of fish lingers all over the village!” says one of the fishers. “We give extra fish free of charge to community members who flock to the beach to welcome us back. Nearly every household gets a share of the catch,” he added.

On a bad day, however, few fish traders can be seen standing at the beach looking dejected. Most community members are normally not observed at the beach. Bad days frequently occur during the southeast monsoon season. “Good days occur during the northeast monsoon season, which begins this September,” another fisher says.

Fish traders are leaving the beach with empty buckets on a bad day.

Fig. 3: Fish traders are leaving the beach with empty buckets on a bad day.

Through participant observation, I expect to establish relationships with fishers based on rapport and trust. This will enable me to carry out my research more effectively. I plan to accompany some of the fishers in fishing trips from October 2019 to understand fishing experience and culture.

The people of the sea will connect you to the world more than the Island internet!

Monicah Sairo (University of Roehampton PhD Student)

Karibu Lamu Tamu’ (welcome to sweet Lamu) was the first phrase that attracted my attention as a researcher when I first landed on the historic Island. Captain Bakari had said this to me while inviting me onboard his small beautiful dhow.  ‘The sweetness of the Island is in the ocean’, said Bakari. After a lengthy chat Bakari concluded by reiterating that he and his family have depended on the sea for years. Unfortunately, my journey was only half an hour and hence, I did not get to delve further into the exciting conversation.  However, the encounter with Bakari, and the chit-chat on my way to my hotel, prepared me to confront such ‘pregnant’ statements.  As I began to understand the uses of sayings and symbols seems to be part of the everyday conversation among the Lamu people.

Monicah waiting for the captain, traditional dhow

At one point, on my way to the hotel, Captain Bakari, suggested a few things to do in the Island as a tourist but explaining to him who I was he was quick to recommend things I should do as a student and or a Nairobian who studies in London. My position and different personas were the second things that I had to grapple with, being a young woman, an outsider, a student from the UK, a Kenyan, a Maasai all these personas in one way or the other have on many occasions influenced the varied relationships. I have begun to develop. My identity as Maasai woman on the Island in most instances becomes the entry point of long candid conversations. However, most reactions mostly depended on my response to questions such as, “Which part of Kenya are you from?”, “Is this your first time in Lamu?” or “How long will you be here for?”  Although these were very common questions in my first week in the Island, I must admit that I now begin to feel part of the society. I have been invited to attend youth activities such as the Youth Dialogue Forum and the Art of Breathing Talk, among others. Through this conversations, I, have been able to develop contacts with different artists/artisan and craftspeople on the Island. Furthermore, I have been able to expand my research contacts mainly through recommendations from the different people that I meet, in different social spaces, such as eateries, museum, art and crafts studios and youth creative spaces among others.

Monicah at a youth creative space in Lamu

Having been on the Island 7 years ago, I couldn’t help noting the obvious changes around the ocean. The ocean is a constant point around which my activities circulate but also there were changes such as the use of new fiberglass boats, motorcycles, and the unavoidable sight of pollution along the beaches. The new boats and motorcycles seem to be part of the main transport around and within the Lamu Archipelago which complement, and in some areas, have replaced the traditional dhows and donkeys. Walking between some Islands such as Lamu and Shela, one is constantly forced to give way to the motorbikes, and this seems to be the trigger to chit-chats between the pedestrians. One man, riding a donkey, said to me, ‘I hate to admit that these bikes are a nuisance but a blessing to the youth, it is a source of employment’. Another pedestrian joined in the conversation and was quick to give his opinion, ‘I think they are dangerous, not many of the riders are professionally trained, and they have caused a lot of unrecorded accidents’.

One captain of a traditional dhow said to me, ‘New boats are saviours to many but sadly come with a cost…..many people have opted for these boats because of cost of making and maintaining them. However, they are not as comfortable as the traditional dhows and in addition they have contributed to pollution of the sea.’

sdr

This is just an excerpt of how my everyday life in Lamu is developing. The Lamunian are very friendly, engaging and curious people, this has made it easy for me as a researcher to search for information. However, the amount of information from everyday engagements has been overwhelming.

Needless to say, the Island’s enthralling history, intimate alleyways, deserted beaches and slow pace of life captivates travellers and this will often stir up exciting conversations.  ‘This is an insanely happy place’, said a female tourist who was ending her visit. She smiled ruefully as the boat man replied to her, “Leaving the Island is a disease, to come back is the cure’.

Part of the Bagamoyo beach with local boats

Bagamoyo visitors love the sea—and want to get on it, University of Dar Es Salaam students find

Bahari Yetu, Urithi Wetu:

Undergraduate students Martha Kipande, Daniel Antony Munuo, Noella Mrosso and Javern Aveline Sabas and postgraduate student Neema Munisi report on their findings.

Part of the Bagamoyo beach with local boats

Photo 1: Part of the Bagamoyo beach with local boats

 Photo by E. Ichumbaki

A team of students from the University of Dar Es Salaam (UDSM) have been out and about in the Tanzanian fishing town of Bagamoyo finding out what some of its over 17,000 visitors a year enjoy—and what they’d like more of. Unsurprisingly, the natural beauty of the beach and its busy fishing community rate highly. But the students—on UDSM’s Heritage Management programme at the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies—also found that visitors would relish a trip on a traditional boat. Undergraduate students Martha Kipande, Daniel Antony Munuo, Noella Mrosso and Javern Aveline Sabas and postgraduate student Neema Munisi report on their findings.

Bagamoyo’s beach, with its busy fishermen, traditional wooden sailing boats, fine sand, clear water and seashells is a key attraction for tourists visiting the town, we found in a questionnaire we conducted among visitors this month as part of the Bahari Yetu, Urithi Wetu (Our Sea, Our Heritage) project. “The lives of people, fishing boats, dhows, white sand, the sunset, clean beach and palm trees are all very interesting” one Danish tourist, a postgraduate student, told us. A Russian visitor said simply that, “The beach is the best”.

Daniel and Martha interviewing a tourist from Spain

Photo: Daniel and Martha interviewing a tourist from Spain

Photo by Neema Munisi

Tourists were also interested in the sights and history of the town itself—citing its historic architecture, fish market, curio shops, food, people, climate and slave-trade history among its attractions. “The old-style buildings have not changed,” noted a tourist from South Korea, “The structures are still original.”

We conducted the survey over almost two weeks. For us—young people waving clipboards in the street—the main challenge was to win the trust and patience of visitors, and also to convince the tour guides that we were not stealing their business. Many tourists were in a hurry. Some ignored us, and others thought we were beggars!

But, in the end, we gathered more than 110 reponses, and were amazed by the results. People enjoyed their stay, but there is a clear market for boat-trip experiences that is not currently being satisfied. Overwhelmingly, respondents said they’d love to go on a traditional boat—especially one with a sail—for activities such as visiting an island or snorkelling. A German tourist interviewed by Daniel Munuo was typical—he favoured going on a short boat trip using a tradition wooden boat with a sail. But, with very few exceptions, these activities are not available in the town, and they are not publicised at all.

As a group we enjoyed face-to-face conversation with visitors from more than 20 countries, including Brazil, Israel, Australia, Mexico, Spain, the USA, Ghana, German, the UK, and Zimbabwe. “It was a great experience interviewing the tourists and I was amazed with their response,” says Javern Aveline Sabas, another UDSM team member. But as a group we have also enjoyed the food, festivals and people, who are simply lovely. “Being a Maasai and coming to Bagamoyo for the first time was a season to remember”, says Martha, a member of the UDSM student team. Like many of the tourists, “I really enjoyed the culture and the authenticity of the people especially engaged fishermen at the beach.” “Walking from one street to another, and restaurant to restaurant to talk to tourists and get their feelings about Bagamoyo was my first experience but indeed evidence that undergraduate and postgraduate students can collaborate to produce tangible outputs” says Neema, another team member and UDSM postgraduate student.

Martha and Javern interviewing tourist from United States of America (U.S.A)

Photo: Martha and Javern interviewing tourist from United States of America (U.S.A)

Photo by an unknown

Bagamoyo is a quiet town, with a seafront area that is packed with historic buildings, some of which are crumbling, while others are still in use. It was once a very prosperous settlement, and the main port of mainland Tanzania until the increasing size of ships moved international trade to Dar Es Salaam. It was also a major port for ivory and slaves.

Currently, the historical buildings of Bagamoyo are managed by Tanzania Forest Services (TFS) and Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), which aim to revitalizing the old ‘stone town’ area.

For a better experience in Bagamoyo, tourists said they also wanted a good map of the town, and better signage, street lighting and public transport. One Brazilian tourist interviewed by Noella Mrosso also suggested “better prices on accommodation and better internet.”

Bahari Yetu, Urithi Wetu is a collaborative research project investigating ways of leveraging Bagamoyo’s rich maritime heritage for social benefit. Part of the Rising from the Depths Network, it brings together researchers from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and the Universities of Exeter and Southampton in the UK. It is funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council, and Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

Rising from the Depths Call Three Launched

The third and final funding call for the Rising from the Depths Network has launched.

The call will be funding projects up to £10,000 that will disseminate the wider aims of the network (the
importance and utility of MCH in Eastern Africa) and that will enhance or create links between the
existing project portfolio.

Read the full call here.

2 Contemporary capulana with designs linked to coastal themes, purchased for the project in Maputo, July 2019

Women’s Identity, Textiles and Heritage: Coastal Style in Mozambique (WITH Coastal Style)

Women’s Identity, Textiles and Heritage: Coastal Style in Mozambique (WITH Coastal Style) is a one-year project (June 2019-June 2020), researching and promoting women’s identities and concerns linked to marine heritage in Katembe District, Maputo, Mozambique.

 

The project is an international collaboration between National Museums Scotland, the Fortress Museum (with Eduardo Mondlane University), and the Fisheries Museum in Maputo, the capital city of Mozambique. The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Rising from the Depths Network in the United Kingdom https://risingfromthedepths.com/.

In July, I travelled from Edinburgh to Mozambique for two weeks on the first of three project visits to undertake start-up meetings with our project partners at the Fisheries and Fortress Museums, launch the project and begin the research. During the first week we held a public event at the Fortress Museum, an imposing 19th century building located on the city’s busy waterfront. The event was well attended by a variety of interested groups, including artists, designers, and academics, and at the last minute I was invited to promote the event on local radio. Co-Investigators Moises Timba from the Fortress Museum, Valda Marcos of the Fisheries Museum and John Giblin from National Museums Scotland introduced the interests of the project partners and Professor Paul Lane and Dr Solange Macame from Rising from the Depths introduced the aims of the network and the scope of the fascinating projects underway along the east African coast.  Also present were Project Research Assistants based at Eduardo Mondlate University, Claudio Mondlate and Emilia Machaieie.

At the Project launch event, Fortress Museum, Maputo, July 2019

At the Project launch event, Fortress Museum, Maputo, July 2019

I provided a detailed overview of the project background, aims and outcomes, which seeks to contribute to knowledge of marine cultural heritage (MCH) on the eastern African coast and identify ways, in times of change, that MCH can be utilized to build social cohesion. This project identifies the fundamental role of textiles and dress in the development and maintenance of identity, as expressions of the connections between people and place. It takes as its focus the role of the Mozambican capulana printed cotton cloth as markers of female identity and as archives of women’s histories and memories.

As a symbol of Mozambican heritage, capulana have been preserved and passed from one generation to the next and with them the stories of the women who wear them.  The project will focus on collecting these stories from the women who live and work among the six fishing communities of Katembe, situated on the southern bank of Maputo Bay. The projected urbanization of this region following the opening of the suspension bridge in 2019 directly linking the capital to Katembe by road, and cutting journey time into South Africa, will impact on material practices and living traditions among women in these coastal communities. Through the research local women will have the opportunity to share, not only information relating specifically to their material heritage, the capulana, but also their experiences related to life in this coastal community, and this, amongst other project outcomes, will be presented to the community and wider audiences through exhibitions in Maputo and Katembe.

Over thirty guests were present at the launch. These included students in tourism, journalism, heritage and the arts, fashion designers and representatives from ISAC (Higher Institute of Arts and Culture) and CCBM (Centro Cultural Brasil-Mozambique), the media and the museum sector. A lively question and discussion session followed the presentations, relating to issues of Mozambican material culture, heritage and identity. Conversations continued over the delicious accompanying lunch provided for guests, set out under the trees in the grounds of the Fortress. Huge thanks are due to Oswaldo, Sigone and Ed for their excellent language translation skills.

At the fish and sea food stall near the Maputo-Katembe ferry quayside July 2019

At the fish and sea food stall near the Maputo-Katembe ferry quayside July 2019

During the second week in Maputo, we undertook a visit to the district of Katembe, the focus of the research. Here, with the support of the President of the Community Council of Fisheries, we held the first of six planned focus groups with women from the fishing communities. In the shade of trees close by the jetty of Maputo-Katembe ferry we met a small group of women who had agreed to take time out from attending their stalls of fresh fish and seafood to share fascinating insights into the role of the cloths in daily life, in celebrations and as indicators of religious and political identity. We are interested to understand whether certain coastal themed designs have any cultural significance for coastal communities and a distinctive sea shell design was recognised from the photographs we showed from the NMS (1990s) capulana collection. They also confirmed that there were designs shared and worn by women in the community, of which we will learn more during further individual interviews. Interestingly, we were also told that another item of Mozambican clothing, the lenço, a patterned headscarf which has an even longer history of use than the capulana, is obligatory dress for the fish sellers, a requirement of health & safety regulations. From this first discussion I feel sure there are many more insights to come and I am particularly interested to hear the response of the younger generation to their clothing traditions as we progress.

At the focus group near the Katembe-Maputo ferry quayside July 2019

At the focus group near the Katembe-Maputo ferry quayside July 2019

Following the meeting, the team travelled along the coast to connect with other fishing communities in Katembe district, where they will continue the fieldwork in the next few months. I return in November when we will begin to develop the planned project exhibitions, one at the Fortress Museum and another community travelling exhibition. Interesting and exciting times ahead!

The collection of project inspired coastal themed capulana cloths has also begun for the Fisheries Museum, as a new resource for visitor engagement, and to add to NMS collections. Check out these great designs.

Contemporary capulana with designs linked to coastal themes, purchased for the project in Maputo, July 2019

Look out for further project updates from all the team.

Sarah Worden. August 2019

National Museum of Scotland Eduardo Mondlane Fortress Museum and Fisheries Museum Logo
Fishers haul a fishing ngalawa onto the beach at Bagamoyo before the tide ebbs (Image: L.K. Blue)

A maritime heritage paradox: aspiration and preservation on the beaches of Bagamoyo, Tanzania

Bahari Yetu, Urithi Wetu Project Team:

John P. Cooper, University of Exeter

Elgidius Ichumbaki, University of Dar Es Salaam

Lucy Blue, University of Southampton

 

The first field season of the Bahari Yetu, Urithi Wetu project is under way. Academics from the University of Dar Es Salaam, the University of Exeter, and the University of Southampton are working with fishing and boatbuilding communities around Bagamoyo to examine the stresses this heritage faces, while documenting its material and intangible manifestations. As the project progresses, the team will hold community events to celebrate this heritage and develop pathways to heritage sustainability.

Fishers haul a fishing ngalawa onto the beach at Bagamoyo before the tide ebbs (Image: L.K. Blue)

Figure 1: Fishers haul a fishing ngalawa onto the beach at Bagamoyo before the tide ebbs (Image: L.K. Blue).

The Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha has a fleeting, but transformative effect on the seascape off the Tanzanian coastal town of Bagamoyo. On any other day, a glance out to sea would reveal an industrious scene of fishers setting nets and traps, mostly in locally made wooden boats powered by sail our outboard motor, or otherwise heading out to more distant fishing grounds. On the town beach, teams of stevedores and crew would normally be noisily loading timber, vegetables or livestock bound for Zanzibar, or unloading bright yellow plastic containers of cooking oil coming from there. But on Eid morning, the scene is unusually empty, as the community prepares to celebrate with feasting and family time in community with the global Islamic ummah.

The gradual appearance of a handful of fishing boats on the water as the day progresses, however, is a sign that not all is well among the Bagamoyo fishing community. A smattering of fishing lamps on the sea after dark shows that some are working even into the night. “In the past, no one would have gone fishing on Eid,” on elder fisher tells us. “But these days, some people cannot afford to lose a single day”.

The inshore waters of Bagamoyo, as elsewhere along the Tanzanian coast, are increasing overfished, with even immature stocks being depleted. Meanwhile the human population is rising, with more fishers active, and demand for fish on the up.

Fishing in Bagamoyo is arranged around small crews operating small, privately owned, wooden boats. The large majority of craft are striking sailing dugouts fitted with outriggers, called ngalawa, used for line and net fishing, with a smaller number of stout mtumbwi dugouts powered by outboard engines for setting traps and nets. A smaller fleet of larger plank-built vessels, up to 11m long, are also powered by outboard engine: recent innovations, they pursue sein netting by day or night. Other similar-sized plank-built daw still use sail.

A range of fishing vessels—mtumbwe (front), ngwanda (rear left) and mtando (rear right)—moored on the waterfront at Mlingotini (Image: J.P. Cooper)

Figure 2: A range of fishing vessels—mtumbwe (front), ngwanda (rear left) and mtando (rear right)—moored on the waterfront at Mlingotini (Image: J.P. Cooper).

“You won’t find a single person in this town who would prefer to keep the sail if he was offered an engine,” says one fisher. With coastal waters overfished, the need of communities dependent on fishing to go further and faster in pursuit of fish trumps any sentimental attachment to sailing craft as ‘heritage’ objects. This does not mean that people are not aware of the historic importance of their craft. “I would like to see research conducted into the origins of the ngalawa and its connections across the Indian Ocean,” one fisher tells us. Yet owners of the sailing ngalawa struggle to make a living for their families, and builders of larger plank vessels complain of the soaring cost of timber.

Bagamoyo is a historic town. Its role as entrepôt of the East African slave trade and capital of the short-lived German East Africa has left a series of historic buildings. Tourists come from near and far to see these—but few miss the beach and its maritime bustle, and most rate it as a highlight of their visit. Polling by University of Dar Es Salaam heritage management undergraduate students as part of the Bahari Yetu, Urithi Wetu project is beginning to reveal the prominent role that traditional boats, especially those with sails, play in the tourist experience of the Bagamoyo. Yet the relationship between tourists—especially those pointing cameras uninvited—and porters, fishers and boatbuilders on the beach is not always a comfortable one. Work clearly needs to be done to improve mutual understanding and beach etiquette.

Members of the Bahari Yetu, Urithi Wetu project team, together with fishers, boat-builders and spiritual practitioners, at a project co-creation event aimed at identifying the key issues faced by the community (Image: unknown photographer)

Figure 3: Members of the Bahari Yetu, Urithi Wetu project team, together with fishers, boat-builders and spiritual practitioners, at a project co-creation event aimed at identifying the key issues faced by the community (Image: unknown photographer).

The more fundamental issue, however, is the disconnect between the ailing economic health of traditional maritime activities for the Bagamoyo community, and its value to that community, and its visitors, as a globally important cultural and heritage asset. The wooden sailing boats and their attendant cultural practices have to weather an economic storm of overfishing and rising material costs: if not, they could disappear at a rapid rate as technological alternatives come to market and accelerate a fishing-technology ‘arms race’. If that happens, they would take with them a wealth of material, spiritual, cognitive and linguistic heritage. Preventing that loss cannot entail forbidding fishers and sailors from seeking prosperity through changing practices. But the solution might be through finding new ways to deploy and valorise this heritage—even on a smaller scale.

Preserving the Maritime Cultural Heritage on Pemba Island, Tanzania – Women’s work

East Pemba Maritime Heritage Project Team:

Mark Horton, Royal Agricultural University

Eréndira Quintana Morales, Northern Illinois University

Shadia Taha, University of Cambridge

Abdallah Khamis Ali, Zanzibar Heritage Foundation.

Abdallah Mkumbukwa, State University of Zanzibar

Laura Basell, University of Leicester

 

Women’s work

The role of women in this economy is particularly interesting. In the past, with the men taking all the fish and selling it, the women and their families had to rely on their own food supply. This mostly involved agriculture, rice paddy, where the terrain supported this, or millets in the drier coral lands, together with bananas, citrus fruit and coconuts. Zebu cattle grazed on the harvested rice fields. An important source of protein was shell fish, with large groups of women going out at low spring tides (every two weeks) to collect them.

A typical rural scene behind the fishing towns. The rice is being harvested by women, while cattle graze on the stalks left behind.

A typical rural scene behind the fishing towns. The rice is being harvested by women, while cattle graze on the stalks left behind.

This familiarity with the inter-tidal zone was useful for the women to exploit another cash rich resource – seaweed. Seaweed (Swahili: mwani) farming is a relatively recent phenomenon in East Africa, dating from 1988. Processed for lotions, cosmetics and even toothpaste, it is a major export for Zanzibar and around 80% comes from Pemba island, especially in the north east where the shallow lagoon environment is ideal. The seaweed (Eucheuma denticulatum and Kappaphycus alvaresii) is planted in small plots and is harvested 6 weeks later, where it is then carried ashore and dried. The dried seaweed is then sold for cash per kilo, to an agent. The women benefit and can be financially independent of their husbands. With the success of seaweed farming it seems that shellfish collection has declined – or has become more a social event. There have been reports that the price the women get has declined, and that the seaweed has to be planted at greater depths, as a result of the warming of the ocean. One result has been the use of light weight plastic boats to provide access to deeper water.

Seaweed being laid out to dry on the beach at Tumbe

Seaweed being laid out to dry on the beach at Tumbe. In the foreground can be seen a light plastic boat, supplied by the agents, to help facilitate harvesting in deeper waters.

So where do all the fish go? It seems that the maritime societies of Pemba island both in the past and the present are successful entrepreneurs, who realised that fish are more valuable as cash resource to be sold, in the past to the Arab plantations, and in the present to the beach hotels; meat and shell fish were the preferred everyday protein source. This is a hypothesis at least, that we are now testing at the household level and by future excavations on some of the ‘living’ towns.

Preserving the Maritime Cultural Heritage on Pemba Island, Tanzania – The technologies are changing

East Pemba Maritime Heritage Project Team:

Mark Horton, Royal Agricultural University

Eréndira Quintana Morales, Northern Illinois University

Shadia Taha, University of Cambridge

Abdallah Khamis Ali, Zanzibar Heritage Foundation.

Abdallah Mkumbukwa, State University of Zanzibar

Laura Basell, University of Leicester

 

The technologies are changing

Fishers need boats, and one of our observations was that traditional dug-out catamarans (known as ngalawa), wooden dhows (mashua) are being replaced by fibreglass boats with outboards engines. Modern fibreglass boats have the advantage of being less dependent on the winds, but of course require expensive fuel to operate and are more difficult to repair.

 

Fibreglass boats are increasingly replacing traditional wooden boats for fishing.

Fibreglass boats are increasingly replacing traditional wooden boats for fishing.

We were told that the fisheries ministry issued new boats to fishers a few years back in an attempt to increase catches, but within a short time, they had been abandoned, as the engines and the boats themselves fell apart. It was a relief to see that traditional boat building continues along much of the north east coast. For example, on the beach at Likoni, opposite to Kojani island, we observed four enormous hulls, from dug-out Mango trees in the course of construction. The people of Kojani are especially well known as traditional boat-builders.

Project Investigator Abdallah Khamis interviewing Kojani boatbuilders as they construct a dug-out from a mango tree truck.

Project Investigator Abdallah Khamis interviewing Kojani boatbuilders as they construct a dug-out from a mango tree truck.