Workshop “Tanzania’s Marine Heritage: A Climate Adaptation Priority”

An interdisciplinary law/archaeology workshop exploring the negative impact of climate change on Tanzania’s marine cultural heritage

About this event

This interdisciplinary workshop aims to bring together lawyers, archaeologists, environmental experts and policymakers to investigate the extent to which marine cultural heritage (MCH) should be represented as a climate adaptation priority in Tanzania’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP); and, in turn, how this representation could provide greater economic and cultural benefits for citizens by creating the potential to attract support from international funds.

Tanzania’s MCH is in danger of being lost or damaged due to climate change. Under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Tanzania has prepared a National Adaptation Programme of Action in which it identifies MCH sites as a short-term adaptation priority, and as important to developing sustainable and climate resilient tourism as they are to the country’s enduring cultural heritage. However greater emphasis could be placed on the role that MCH can play in improving the resilience to climate change of coastal communities through sustainable tourism in this sector.

Tanzania is in the process of preparing its NAP, in which it will identify medium- to long-term comprehensive climate adaptation priorities, and this workshop explores the inclusion of MCH as a specific adaptation priority in this policy document so that, ultimately, financial support can be sought for specific projects from the UNFCCC’s financial mechanism and other sources. Greater funding could not only build local capacity to record and preserve MCH at risk of climate change, but also identify infrastructural and developmental priorities to safeguard significant MCH against climate change-related loss and damage to ensure that it becomes an important area of green economic growth for coastal communities through the development of sustainable tourism initiatives, which bolster the resilience of such communities to the negative effects of climate change.

The workshop seeks to address the following questions:

  • Should there be a greater focus on the protection of MCH in Tanzania’s NAP, and if so, what impact could such an inclusion realistically have?
  • What is the feasibility and viability of including a greater focus on MCH in Tanzania’s NAP?
  • If MCH becomes a greater focus in Tanzania’s NAP, what should this look like?
  • If feasible and viable, could a similar approach be adopted in the NAPs of other East African coastal countries?

Workshop Overview

Panel 1: Tanzania’s Marine Cultural Heritage

Panel 2: Climate Mitigation and Adaptation in Tanzania

Panel 3: Marine Cultural Heritage and Climate Change: Policies, Challenges and Opportunities

(4) Roundtable Discussion

Speakers include archaeology, heritage and climate policy experts from the University of Dar es Salaam and Sokoine University, GiZ, the National Museum of Tanzania and the Government of Tanzania.

 

The workshop takes place on 3 August 2021. You can register HERE to attend this event.

Read more about the Rising from the Depths Network project “Incorporating Marine Cultural Heritage Protection into Tanzania’s National Adaptation Plan”.

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

June 2021

The WITH Coastal Style project, supported by the Rising from the Depths (RftD) Network is researching 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 at a time of major infrastructural development around Maputo.

In March 2020 flights were booked, visa applications processed, accommodation arranged. The plan was for the National Museums Scotland (NMS) team (Sarah Worden and John Giblin) to join the team in Maputo (Co-Investigator Valda Marcos, Post Graduate Researchers Emilia Machaieie and Claudio Mondlate, and photographer Yassmin Fortes) for the installation of a temporary exhibition at the Fortress Museum in Maputo, a milestone in the delivery of the project. Just days away from travel the pandemic hit our project plans and everything was put on hold. Challenging as this was, we are delighted to report that on 28th May 2021, over thirteen months later than originally planned the exhibition opened. Sadly the NMS team were still unable to travel to be part of the installation and opening event. As curator of the host venue, Co-Investigator Moises Timba co-ordinated the content, installation and opening of the exhibition with the rest of the Mozambican team.

Invitation to the WITH Coastal Style Exhibition opening event

The Exhibition

The exhibition takes as its focus a group of women from Katembe, a coastal fishing community on the South Western side of Maputo Bay who participated in the project research. Proposed urbanization of the Katembe area following the construction of the Maputo-Katembe Bridge in 2019 is likely to impact on the material practices and living traditions of the residents of the small fishing communities in the area. Life by and on the sea, catching, selling and eating fish, is a source of community solidarity that spans generations in Katembe. Through a series of powerful photographs taken among the mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends of Katembe the visitor is introduced to the project, the women, their coastal environment and the role of the cotton printed capulana in their lives as an expression of identity and cultural heritage.

The bi-lingual text panels (Portuguese and English) outlining the research emphasise the collaborative nature of this international project. A personal quote from one of the research participants relating to the significance of the capulana introduces each section panel.

‘I use capulana because I am a Mozambican woman!’

Dona Zena, 22 years, Mahlampfane, Katembe, November 2019

‘Every woman always has to wear a capulana … capulana can be useful in various situations … be it menstruation, pregnancy, carry a baby, go to the market, go to the hospital, in case of accident … ‘

Dona Cristina, 54 years, Guachene, Katembe, November 2019

Collected during the research interviews, these responses are incisive and thought-provoking and, with the images, have been selected to generate discussion and debate concerning the role of material heritage in connecting communities.

The exhibition is ready for visitors in the gallery space of the Fortress Museum

Opening Event

Covid restrictions limited the number of invited guests at the opening event, but a range of institutions were represented, including: Eduardo Mondlane University, Director of Culture, Faculty of Art and Social Sciences, CECOMA (Communication centre of UEM), Ministry of Culture and Tourism (National Director of Heritage), UNESCO, Fisheries Museum (Project partner), and ISARC (Higher Institute of Art & Culture, Mozambique). Among the other guests were university assistants and artists based in Maputo. A welcome speech, including a message from Sarah Worden (NMS), was delivered by RftD Network Co-ordinator for Mozambique, Solange Macamo, Lecturer of Archaeology and Heritage Management in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology (UEM).

One of the exhibition gallery spaces at the Fortress Museum

Following the opening speeches refreshments were served and a lively performance by Sekerekane, a local female dance group. The sound for the event was organized by Julio, a DJ from the School of Communication and Art (ECA) /UEM).

Exhibition opening speeches in the grounds of the Fortress Museum

A group of women from the project research group also attended the opening, with transport from Katembe organised by the Fisheries Museum. Project team members Emilia and Claudio were on hand to guide the group through the exhibition in which the women are the ‘stars’, and to record their re-actions to the displays to include in the research. Wearing their matching capulana, the design selected by the group in November 2019, as a thank-you gift to the women for their participation in the project, their presence made a powerful visual statement of the role of the capulana in group identity.

The opening event included entertainment by Sekerekane dance troupe

Project team members Moises, Claudio and Emilia with representatives of the Katembe research group

Invited guests view the exhibition displays

Emilia introduces members of the Katembe research group to the exhibition

Members of the Katembe research group, wearing matching capulanas, are among the first to visit the displays

Members of the team have participated in a number of broadcasting events to talk about the project and the exhibition including national Radio station SFM and CECOMA, a centre of communication of UEM who also interviewed others in the project team. Moises Timba also made an appearance on the popular TVM Bom Dia Mocambique programme to talk about the exhibition. Media interest has also included interviews with Yassmin by Mazanga for Radio Mozambique and for Flash radio programme.

We look forward to further project outcomes including the preparation and opening of an itinerant, touring, exhibition in Katembe where the research took place organised by the Fisheries Museum in Maputo, taking the project in a different format to schools and local communities later in the year. You can see more details of the project in the link  Rising from the Depths » Women’s Identity, Textiles and Heritage: Coastal Style in Mozambique (WITH Coastal Style)

 

 

 

Participants playing football at Mgao sports day

Novel approaches to research during COVID-19

Futures through underwater pasts was carried out amidst Covid 19 pandemic where major sports, including football, were restricted for sometime. Following research, football and exercise were allowed and declared a tool to battle the pandemic. The project utilised this opportunity by organising soccer games between different groups of children and youth from Mgao village. Soccer was organised with the research team and against each other in the Mgao community. Together with soccer, the research team managed to interact with the local community to understand the significance of maritime heritage and its proximity, sustainability and significance to the maritime heritage to the community.

Participants playing football at Mgao sports day

Mgao sports day

Students taking pictures and coordinate extraction of the ruins of the likely former navy prison , August 2019

Reviving a Maritime project: Architectural and Ecological Heritage of Chinde-Mozambique

Reviving a Maritime Past: Architectural and ecological heritage of Chinde, MozambiqueRoberto Mussibora, Joaquim Campira, Francis Massé & Manuel Chigarisso

Sawing Cutting Mangrove Trunks for Wood, August 2019

Sawing Cutting Mangrove Trunks for Wood, August 2019

Like other coastal communities, the population of Chinde has a heavy reliance on mangrove ecosystems for their livelihoods. In Chinde, this dependence is having harmful results, even threatening the physical integrity of the village due to coastal erosion caused not only by the indiscriminate felling of mangrove trees and the extraction of clay for house building, but also by sea level rise and reduction of water in the Zambezi River.

Effects of Coastal Erosion in Chinde, August 2019

Effects of Coastal Erosion in Chinde, August 2019

As part of our field survey throughout Chinde village, we witnessed the increasing levels of erosion and consequent degradation of the socio-ecological surroundings of ​​Chinde. Communities in the area are unanimous in stating that today, Chinde is in its 3rd city phase. The third phase refers to the newest phase of city building as coastal erosion will have destroyed what would be the original two phases of city construction, known as the 1st and 2nd city, including much of the original infrastructure and architecture from those periods. The 1st and 2nd city also represent the original centre of the city  of Chinde.

Throughout our survey we see evidence of the central zone (1st and 2nd Chinde) in the form of remains of structures and artefacts (roads, locomotive debris, coffers and boats) along the coastline and in the mouth of the river Chinde / Zambezi River.

We kicked off our workshop by introducing the Reviving a Maritime project: Architectural and Ecological Heritage of Chinde-Mozambique (RMP: AEHChinde-Mz) and Rising from the Depths and its funding partners, Global Challenges Research Fund & Arts & Humanities Research Council.

Being smaller in size, our Workshop in Chinde had a main target of training a group 10 people (6 females and 4 males) on how to document, manage and disseminate the existing Architectural and Ecological Cultural Heritage in Chinde. The presentations were subdivided into two sections: Ecological Heritage and Architectural Cultural Heritage.

Workshop Participants, August 2019

Workshop Participants, August 2019

 

Ecological Heritage

Local fisherman on the shore of Micaúne, Chinde August 2019

Local fisherman on the shore of Micaúne, Chinde August 2019

Ecological heritage plays an important role in the culture, economy and social aspects of the community, shaping their lifestyle and livelihoods in ways where the community depends on their natural surroundings, including elements of biodiversity and ecosystems that the local environment offers. The purpose of focusing on ecological heritage in the workshop was to empower and instill in local students the knowledge and tools for identifying ecological heritage, the processes involved in ecological identification and ways of preserving heritage in a time of climate change and unsustainable exploitation of biodiversity and its ecosystems. The workshop also emphasized the relevance of coastal erosion and its impact on the architectural and ecological heritage, including the socio-economic and cultural dynamics of Chinde.

Boat made from mangrove trees, August 2019

Boat made from mangrove trees, August 2019

After the end of the ecological heritage section of the workshop, students expressed interest in voluntarily collaborating on data collection in the field for the RMP: AEHChinde-Mz project. They saw the project as presenting issues of social and cultural importance. They also expressed concerns of open fecalism on the beach, and through discussions have challenged themselves to set up a student club at the local school (Chinde Secondary School). Such a club will aim to raise awareness of the importance of preserving local heritage and the risks posed by some unsustainable exploitation practices of the elements of local biodiversity and ecosystem on local heritage and socio-economic and cultural aspects associated with climate change.

Identification of mangrove species and likely areas of higher incidence with help from the local community, August 2019

Identification of mangrove species and likely areas of higher incidence with help from the local community, August 2019

Two members of local institutions (Environment and Forest and Wildlife technicians) also participated in the workshop and made themselves available to continue data collection. In addition, technicians benefited from basic training on coastal erosion risk zone mapping techniques and their importance, as well as the enhancement of some basic local ecosystem services, and the creation of a database to better understand the dynamics of erosion. They also learned basic skills for using photography and film to document a continually degrading coast.

Architectural Cultural Heritage

The architecture and cultural heritage focus examined the built urban environment of Chinde, from the pre-colonial era, British concession, to the present time.

Participants were actively involved and together reflected on the issue of sustainable conservation of maritime cultural heritage, with more emphasis on architectural heritage, in order to preserve and repurpose existing structures.

Abandoned property in state of deterioration in Chinde, August 2019

Abandoned property in state of deterioration in Chinde, August 2019

The workshop focused on training participants on basic techniques of surveying, inventory making and documenting buildings that may be classified as national cultural heritage. This included specific training on the use of plaques and photography in preserving, documenting  and promoting this architectural heritage. The survey work and training was conducted on maps.me, a free smartphone app, that can work offline (without any network connection), and is capable of storing over 500 points, as well as including notes to these points. The maps.me accuracy error is less than 10 m, and is accessible to all smartphone devices, since gps is expensive and inaccessible.

Photographic illustration training for real estate with students, August 2019

Photographic illustration training for real estate with students, August 2019

Photographic illustration training for real estate with students 2, August 2019

Photographic illustration training for real estate with students 2, August 2019

Points (real estate) extracted by maps.me on Chinde, August 2019

Points (real estate) extracted by maps.me on Chinde, August 2019

Students taking pictures and coordinate extraction of the ruins of the likely former navy prison , August 2019

Students taking pictures and coordinate extraction of the ruins of the likely former navy prison , August 2019

Students taking pictures and coordinate extraction of the ruins of the former warehouse, August 2019.

Students taking pictures and coordinate extraction of the ruins of the former warehouse, August 2019.

At the end of the workshop, we took the students to survey the properties located in the risk zone, while the other group of students photographed the properties for the documentation and inventory process. We were able to feel the enthusiasm and participation of the students throughout the sections and training sessions. Several related discussions emerged about the sustainability and symbioses between architectural, cultural, and ecological heritage.

Workshop Participants 2, August 2019

Workshop Participants 2, August 2019

Our workshop and training received strong and enthusiastic support from the local community and the Chinde District Government. They welcomed us warmly and provided us with the necessary room and equipment for the presentations. In the course of the fieldwork, the Chinde Government provided us with a boat to cross to the Micaúne (opposite Chinde) and motorbike for areas without car access. We therefore take this opportunity to reiterate our thanks to all officials of the Chinde District Government, in particular Administrator Pedro Vírgula, for the support offered.

Photo with workshop participants, August 2019

Photo with workshop participants, August 2019

Bidii an Kazi women fencng plots for the nurseries

Government Minister for the Environment visits MUCH to Discover

MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek

National Government Minister for Environment Mr Keriako Tobiko visited the MUCH to Discover team, promising to gazette wetlands to prevent their destruction from human activities. He also planted mangroves with the group. The visit was covered by local media:

Festival of the Sea Photos – Bronagh Corr McNicholl

Bronagh Corr McNicholl – Visiting Artist

Festival of the Sea – Madagascar

The following images were taken by Bronagh at the Festival of the Sea in Madagascar. You can read her reflective blog on the event here.

Festival of the Sea reflective blog – Bronagh Corr McNicholl

Bronagh Corr McNicholl – Visiting Artist

Festival of the Sea – Madagascar

 

I have been living in Derry City for the past 20 years working as an artist, artist facilitator, Arts Care artist in residence in Western Trust, patient/environment arts consultant and cultural programmer. I am currently working as a PHD researcher at Ulster University looking at harnessing photographic dialogue as a participative tool for critical reflection and change towards inclusive masculinity in Derry/Londonderry

Whilst as an artist, I work predominantly in photography but I also create and facilitate on a multidisciplinary level using traditional and new media including oils, acrylics, digital Imaging,  film, audio, literature, printmaking, textiles or creating with sculptural and found elements. My photography documents the small narratives and moments in both people and nature, observing small detail in a fast-paced changing world. Film, nature, travel and sense of place and time influence my photographic works.

I was invited by Jonathan Skinner, (whom I had worked in the past in my role as Arts Care artist at Let The Dance Begin, a community engaged Arts Care festival,  Strabane, NI) to work with SEED, festival organisers and other visiting artists engaging in a cultural exchange  at the ‘Festival of the Sea’ Sainte Luce, Madagascar in 2019.

The project resonated with me as I am originally from Tyrone, and the shores of Lough Neagh and whilst my family are not from a fishing community, I am aware of how mass industry has changed the traditional methods of fishing which had been so much part of the vibrant lived cultural life of rural fishing areas for generations.

As an artist who has primarily worked across healthcare areas, I was conscious of creating a project that would both relate significantly to, be sensitive of, and add to, the cultural value of the community: advance meetings, ethics training and safe practices with the team further developed this understanding. My brief involved designing and delivering a participatory arts project involving 20 women and also with over 300 school children from across three coastal fishing villages.

Initial research and an introduction to Sarah Brown, (a textile artist and founder of the women’s STITCH embroidery project) who was familiar with the community and the accessibility of materials, enabled me  to identify what was and what was not possible.  I was then able to develop the idea of making Lambahonys / lambas. Lambas, are a traditional garment associated with festivals, ceremonies and also as daily practical use, often as a means of carrying children on mothers’ backs. Teaching the women, ‘Shibori’ a traditional Japanese resist dying technique involved different ways of tying the cotton, resulting in a variety of textile pattern designs for the lambas, the indigo colour reflecting the sea theme.

With the children, I decided to create windsocks  that they could use in the procession, using materials such as paper, paint, tissue paper, string, again sensitive to the environment, identifying what we could buy in Madagascar and those I needed to bring with me.

Arriving in Fort Dauphin and meeting the team helped get an idea of what I was to expect, but to be honest no descriptions or photos could have fully illustrated the beauty, warmth, and rich culture of the people and the communities or the landscape I felt privileged to be invited to work in.

On the first morning I woke at dawn and watched the fishermen push their boats out to the dark choppy waters of the Indian Ocean, I later found out that  most fishermen couldn’t swim and only a few had life jackets among them.  As my own Lough Neagh community has a strong tradition of fishing, I relayed back to it the fact about the fishermen not being able to swim, I was surprised to learn that  most traditional Lough Neagh fishermen, also rarely are able to swim.

The Malagasy Fishermen were keen to be photographed beside their boats, which I felt linked them to their heritage, labour, lifestyle, tradition and sense of place.  They really enjoyed seeing their own images on the  camera LCD.  This experience has directly led to a project I am currently working on, I recently received some funding from Derry City Council towards creating photos celebrating the relationship between fishermen and sense of place, around Lough Neagh, Lough Swilly and the River Foyle.

Over the next couple of days at the Festival, I worked with the women and then the children with help from the team to create twenty beautiful Lambas and over two hundred windsocks, in addition I facilitated other women’s and children’s painting workshops against the background of music, dancing workshops and festival atmosphere. The children would proudly come up and show me their beautiful paintings. I was surprised at the skilful anatomical correctness of so many of the depictions of marine life within the paintings.

The day of the procession, I felt very humbled to see the self-titled ‘Lamba Ladies’ proudly wear their creations as they joined the procession dancing their way to the beach and festival grounds. As the time went on amid the lively atmosphere, I would catch glimpses of the distinctive ‘Lamba Ladies’ in their indigo hues, as they went around their normal business, sometimes with a baby wrapped snugly on their backs. I was delighted to see that the garments were practical as well as beautiful. Whether through misunderstanding or experimentation, the children had decided to wear their windsocks as head pieces which added to the spontaneity, creativity and joy of the procession.

The richness of the experience has stayed with me and has had a major part in my own return to academia and as I want to explore further how I can use photography as a participative tool for critical thinking and making the unseen visible towards cultural understanding.

Festival of the Sea Logo

Festival of the Sea Procession

Alongside the Festival of the Sea, the project organised a procession to promote water safety for fishermen. View the video of the procession below:

Sea Turtle Story Book Launch, children reading the book

Book Launch Events- Using fishers’ traditional maritime knowledge to improve small-scale fisheries management in northern Madagascar

Using fishers’ traditional maritime knowledge to improve small-scale fisheries management in northern Madagascar have produced two children’s books looking at the importance of sea turtles in Madagascar.

They launched the books by giving out 200 copies to local schools in Madagascar.

You can download the books here.

Sea Turtle Story Book Launch, children holding copies of the books

Sea Turtle Story Book Launch

Sea Turtle Story- Using fishers’ traditional maritime knowledge to improve small-scale fisheries management in northern Madagascar

Using fishers’ traditional maritime knowledge to improve small-scale fisheries management in northern Madagascar have produced two children’s books looking at the importance of sea turtles in Madagascar.

You can download the English book, “Monie, the Green Sea Turtle” here.

And you can download the Malagasy book, “Lala ilay Lambohara” here.

Documentation during reconnaissance.

Images from Mtwapa Beach Fieldwork

Wycliffe Omondi, PI of Mtwapa: Utilisation of Marine Cultural Heritage by a Multicultural Community shares images taken during his initial fieldwork at Mtwapa Beach:

Mtwapa Beach – Deserted with no activity

Mtwapa Fieldwork

Video footage from Mtwapa: Utilisation of Marine Cultural Heritage by a Multicultural Community showing the use of the beaches and how this has been impacted by COVID-19.

In August 2020 with COVID restrictions:

 

Protecting the Past- Lamu Port Project Report Published

Protecting the Past, Preserving the Future Team

 

The PPP-Future team finalised their report on the human rights implications of the Lamu Port Project in Lamu, Kenya. The report reflects on interviews and a focus groups with local communities and various  stakeholders, aimed at ascertaining the impact of the project on their everyday lives. The report highlights clear tensions between the community’s desire for employment opportunities and sustainable development in the area, and the risk that the project poses to the Marine Cultural Heritage (MCH) of Lamu, in particular its intangible MCH. Research findings also show the scarse public participation surrounding the project and a failure to engage with indigenous peoples to obtain their Free Prior and Informed Consent, as provided by international legal standards.

 

You can read the full report here

Famous boat-shaped building from the Senna Sugar States Lda era “mezingo” in abandoned status, Chinde.

Heritage at risk in Chinde, Mozambique

Reviving a Maritime Past: Architectural and ecological heritage of Chinde, Mozambique – Roberto Mussibora

Panoramic view of Chinde Zambeze River Landim Beach Chinde

Panoramic view of Chinde Zambeze River Landim Beach Chinde

Old Colonial Square and Administration Building

Old Colonial Square and Administration Building

Under national precepts (Mozambique), the inventory appears to be a primary technical procedure for the conservation of cultural heritage. Therefore, the inventorying process aims to know, document and evaluate the state of conservation, as well as define the cultural significance of real estate for local communities.

Former Port Authority Building “Capitania do Porto’’ (office)

Former Port Authority Building “Capitania do Porto’’ (office)

The lack of inventory generally translates into the lack of conservation, protection and even the inexistence / lack of knowledge of heritage assets which, despite having high heritage values ​​evidenced by their history or, even their architectural and cultural significance, cease to exist because there is nothing listed, and often interpretations of such properties end up being arbitrary and changeable.

Chinde District Government Building

Chinde District Government Building

Old Chinde Library

Old Chinde Library

Therefore, our project “RMP: AEHChinde-Mz” aims primarily to document the architectural and ecological cultural heritage in the village of Chinde in southern Zambezia province in Mozambique. The study is based on documentation by photography, maps, structured and semi-structured interviews with the local population in order to understand the challenges and threats of this type of heritage and ways of mitigation.

Chinde is located in a region with an abundant hydrological network, resulting from the Zambezi delta. The location of Chinde appeared to be an imperative for the emergence of this place as an urban center of port and corporate curries of the time, where it attracted several exogenous peoples, including the Arabs, British and Portuguese.

British tombstone dated 1892 and 1984 respectively. Time of the British Concession.

British tombstone dated 1892 and 1984 respectively. Time of the British Concession.

Despite the historical importance of Chinde, the cultural maritime heritage of this village is mostly in an advanced state of degradation and ruins, without even an inventory of local infrastructure, whether of interest or not. Most of the properties are in a state of abandonment, and without any use, appearing to be a city of ruins.

Abandoned property in Chinde

Abandoned property in Chinde

Famous boat-shaped building from the Senna Sugar States Lda era “mezingo” in abandoned status, Chinde.

Famous boat-shaped building from the Senna Sugar States Lda era “mezingo” in abandoned status, Chinde.

The importance and potentiality of Chinde is not only illustrated by its architectural countenance, but also by the dense mangrove forests all along the river course of the Chinde River (one of the branches of the Zambezi River) to the village of Chinde, where along the Upon our arrival at the Chinde River crossing, we were presented with lush landscapes and an exquisite display of hippos and birds of various species.

Chinde Anchorage, Chinde River Mouth.

Chinde Anchorage, Chinde River Mouth.

Hippos along the Zambezi River

Hippos along the Zambezi River

Flamingos along the Chinde River, at the confluence between the salty and sweet waters.

Flamingos along the Chinde River, at the confluence between the salty and sweet waters.

Chinde Mangrove Forest (Chinde River Bank)

Chinde Mangrove Forest (Chinde River Bank)

Chinde Mangrove Forest (Chinde River Bank)

Chinde Mangrove Forest (Chinde River Bank)

Arriving at the village, we witness the excellent symbioses between the maritime and river landscape that are aided by its location (mouth of the Chinde River) and lush architectural goods explicitly displayed and the long and well-defined streets, incorporating several buildings of great architectural, historical and expressiveness importance.

Panoramic view of the buildings of the former company, Senna Sugar States Lda located at Av. dos Heróis Moçambicanos

Panoramic view of the buildings of the former company, Senna Sugar States Lda located at Av. dos Heróis Moçambicanos

Apart from the state of conservation and lack of functionality of many properties, it should be noted that one of the biggest problems that has threatened not only the properties, but the village in general, is the coastal erosion that is at alarming levels, and which according to the population has destroyed the embryo of the Chinde village; ”1st Chinde and 2nd Chinde”, which currently from the mouth of the Chinde River mouth, which was much smaller in size.

Main street and Aspect of the old embryo village (currently nonexistent part of the Chinde River). Source www.act.iict.ptd

Main street and Aspect of the old embryo village (currently nonexistent part of the Chinde River). Source www.act.iict.ptd, Photo Santos Rufino

Old Chinde City Hall. Source www.act.iict.ptd

Old Chinde City Hall. Source www.act.iict.ptd, Photo Santos Rufino

All interviewees (natives) were unanimous in stating that coastal erosion originated initially from mangrove cutting along the banks of the Zambezi River, on the side of Chinde village, after the rural exodus from Luabo to Chinde in the Civil War period, where Luabo will suffer armed attacks. Thus, without conditions, refugee populations in Chinde saw the mangrove as a support, where they used the mangrove for logging, building their new homes for sale, to make firewood and charcoal.

RMP AEHChinde-Mz (Roberto Mussibora and Joaquim Campira), in an interview with Mrs. Ema (native and resident of Chinde)

RMP AEHChinde-Mz (Roberto Mussibora and Joaquim Campira), in an interview with Mrs. Ema (native and resident of Chinde)

It is important to reiterate that according to native respondents, mangrove slaughter before independence was a serious crime, and mangrove use as firewood was only done by picking up dry branches, and never by slaughter.

Mangrove tree sawmill in Bairro Amarelo, Chinde

Mangrove tree sawmill in Bairro Amarelo, Chinde

Large-scale felling (1980s after rural exodus in the Civil War period) and small-scale (at present) contributed significantly to the clearing of mangrove forests on the Chinde River bank on the village side. Another factor that has contributed to the deforestation of mangrove forests and coastal erosion is the reduction of the waters of the Zambezi River (main river) / increase of sea waters, which causes seawater penetration and the consequent salinization of the river Chinde.

As a result, all these factors end up affecting not only the coastal vegetation, but the entire coastal and fluvial ecosystem of Chinde.

In the years ago, there was a willow replanting programs as a way to curb coastal erosion. The measure was positive, but had counterproductive effects due to salinization of the waters.

Coastal erosion on the bank of the Chinde River in the village of Chinde

Coastal erosion on the bank of the Chinde River in the village of Chinde

Situation of vulnerability of local communities due to coastal erosion

Situation of vulnerability of local communities due to coastal erosion

Another factor that contributes negatively to coastal erosion is the extraction of “lodo” mud in the mangroves for use in the construction of local houses, causing no support for willow plants.

Extraction of “lodo” clay by women for towing walls of local houses. In Chinde, towing is an activity usually done by women

Extraction of “lodo” clay by women for towing walls of local houses. In Chinde, towing is an activity usually done by women

Houses of local architecture made of pau-à-pique, made of mangrove sticks and mud “lodo”.

Houses of local architecture made of pau-à-pique, made of mangrove sticks and mud “lodo”.

Clay extraction site. Mouth of the Chinde River

Clay extraction site. Mouth of the Chinde River

Another major constraint is the destruction of abandoned properties for the construction of local houses, as in the non-quarry village for extraction of construction rocks.

Property under destruction for the extraction of broken pieces of the walls for vernacular buildings (pau-à-pique houses).

Property under destruction for the extraction of broken pieces of the walls for vernacular buildings (pau-à-pique houses).

It should be explicitly stated that Chinde communities are dependent on the mangrove forest and its ecosystems.

Access roads to Chinde village

Access roads to Chinde village

Access roads to Chinde village

Access roads to Chinde village

In addition to the various constraints raised above, it should also be noted that Chinde has very degraded access roads and lack of direct access (as it is remotely divided by the Zambezi delta). Therefore, the access roads to Chinde do not have sufficient and safe conditions for the circulation of vehicles, as they have no asphalt, are very narrow and have many holes. Therefore access to Chinde village can only be done by boat or barge crossing.

Despite the constraints attached to the conservation of this heritage, local people are filled with glory to describe how important this “forgotten” place was in the past, where on the basis of a significant sample, I can say that the population is unanimous in recognizing the urgency and necessity of preservation of its architectural heritage of Chinde. In addition, we have received numerous congratulations and active collaboration from local communities on the initiative of our project, where like us, we also believe that our inventory is a primary measure of conserving and envisioning the potential maritime cultural heritage in Chinde.

Joaquim Campira (co-researcher of the RMP AEChinde-Mz) identifying the species and current mangrove slaughtering areas.

Joaquim Campira (co-researcher of the RMP AEChinde-Mz) identifying the species and current mangrove slaughtering areas.

Joaquim Campira and Manuel Chigarisso (RMP AEChinde-Mz co-investigator) identifying the species and current mangrove slaughtering areas.

Joaquim Campira and Manuel Chigarisso (RMP AEChinde-Mz co-investigator) identifying the species and current mangrove slaughtering areas.

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.

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

 

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

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

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

New partnership – 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

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.

 

Dr Caridad Ballesteros presenting the project

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

 

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
Bi Peris, at work on the seaweed fields

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

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

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).

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.

Seaweed being laid out to dry on the beach at Tumbe

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.

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

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.

The government fish market at Tumbe, north-east Pemba

Preserving the Maritime Cultural Heritage on Pemba Island, Tanzania – Where do the fish go?

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

 

Where do the fish go?

Our ethnographic research perhaps helps in solving this riddle. In the south-east monsoon season, there were two main harbours where the fish was landed, Tumbe and Shumba Mjini and where we spent a lot of time recording interviews from the fishers. Both have fish markets; Tumbe is an impressive government building.

The government fish market at Tumbe, north-east Pemba

The government fish market at Tumbe, north-east Pemba.

There is considerable tension between the traditional fishers, who use lines and traps, and the more modern ‘ring-net’ fishers, who are seen as overfishing and reducing the catches for traditional fishers. The fish is generally landed around midday, and is auctioned for cash, to agents and wholesalers. We talked to several women who bought the smaller fish, and then resell at road-side markets. However, the larger fish were bought by the hotels and restaurants – mostly on Unguja island, as there were few on Pemba. We also learnt that many of the fishers could be away for months at a time, fishing on the mainland coast, as far away as Kenya, where they were able to sell the fish directly to the many hotels there. The Kojani fishers are well known as purse-seine net fishers, who travel huge distances, and are reported to illegally enter marine protected areas from Mafia to Malindi.

An informal transaction for a local hotel (left); preparing the latest catch for sale (right).

An informal transaction for a local hotel (left); preparing the latest catch for sale (right). The fish is normally auctioned in bundles that can include several species of fish.

It seems that many of the fish caught do not get to the villages where the fishers come from, but instead generate cash for the fishing families to invest in new houses, mosques or boats. At Kojani for example there is a ‘new Kojani’, where the old houses are being replaced by modern dwelling built of coral and concrete blocks. Many of the old mosques are being torn down to be replaced by large concrete buildings, and unusually the work is being funded locally.

A new mosque being built over the destroyed 18th century mosque at Wingwi

A new mosque being built over the destroyed 18th century mosque at Wingwi. The original building was one of the of the most attractive in East Africa and described as ‘having the proportions of a Greek temple’.

Chinese bowl set into the mosque’s mihrab at Kichokochtwe

Preserving the Maritime Cultural Heritage on Pemba Island, Tanzania – Kichokochtwe – a typical site?

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

 

Kichokochtwe – a typical site?

Kichokochtwe, located on a tidal islet, covers around 5 ha, with a shoreline on three sides. The occupation located across a series of low hills, visible as pottery scatters and a grey soil. A coral-stone mosque with a mihrab adorned with the Chinese blue-and-white bowl (probably Kang-shi) of the early 18th century is located at the highest point of the islet and a small cemetery of stone tombs is just outside the settlement to the east.

Chinese bowl set into the mosque’s mihrab at Kichokochtwe

Chinese bowl set into the mosque’s mihrab at Kichokochtwe and showing that even these small fishing villages were still connected into the Indian Ocean trading networks.

The economic data from the test pits we excavated was particularly revealing. There were enormous quantities of shells and bones mixed in with the ceramics, and carbonised seeds (which still have to be analysed). The shell assemblage is dominated by Strombus gibberulus, which is found along the intertidal littoral that surrounds the site, and which is still collected nowadays. 14 other species were also found, including the African land snail, Achitina fulica. The quantities of shellfish suggest that this was a pretty common staple in the diet, and not just an occasional famine food.

Graph Showing Counts of shell fish recorded at Kichokochtwe from two test pits

Counts of shell fish recorded at Kichokochtwe from two test pits. 14 of the 21 species of shell recorded from our excavations in East Pemba occur here, but the assemblage is dominated by Strombus gibberulus (right) a small conch shell, collected from the intertidal flats.

The bones were also of interest in reconstructing the economy. This was dominated by cattle bones, with a few sheep goat, and very rare chicken. But the big surprise was the almost complete absence of fish bones – despite every attempt to ensure that we were recovering material from fine mesh sieves, and wet-sieving large samples of deposit. The villagers of Kichokochtwe were not eating much fish, and this was a pattern found at all the other sites as well.

Large quantities of cow bones

Large quantities of cow bones were found with the shell fish, but very few fish bones.

Drone image of the ruined 18th century mosque at Mandani (July 2019).

Preserving the Maritime Cultural Heritage on Pemba Island, Tanzania – The Thirteen Maritime Towns of East Pemba

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 Thirteen Maritime Towns of East Pemba

Thirteen fishing settlements, or towns (Swahili mjini) are located in north-east Pemba. The two monsoons (south-east from July to November; north-west from December to March) provide for two distinct fishing grounds of lagoons and inlets protected by the fringing reef and coral islands. This seasonal pattern explains why several towns are located a little inland – but equidistant from both shorelines. Some indication of the time depth of these settlements can be gauged from their mosques, with inset Chinese bowls in the mihrabs – although tragically several have been torn down recently to be replaced by larger concrete edifices. However, there is strong likelihood that they all date to the 18th century if not earlier.

The rare surviving mihrab from the mosque at Shumba, dating to the 18th century

The rare surviving mihrab from the mosque at Shumba, dating to the 18th century, with Chinese bowls inset into the architrave. The other four historic mosques in the area have been torn down and replaced by modern concrete buildings. 

Seven of these towns (Tumbe, Micheweni, Shumba, Wingwi, Maziwa Ngombe, Kiyiu and Kojani) still survive as thriving settlements following the traditional economy that seems little changed since the 18th century. Our project has been able to interview the fishers (normally all men), as well as the women, the agents, middlemen and women, as well as government officials who attempt to regulate their activities. But an extra dimension is that a further six former towns, abandoned in the 19th century, provide an archaeological opportunity to record what these settlements were like in earlier centuries.

Project investigators Omar Haji and Eréndira Quintana Morales interviewing boat builders and fishers at Tumbe

Project investigators Omar Haji and Eréndira Quintana Morales interviewing boat builders and fishers at Tumbe

Today fishing is mostly undertaken from three harbours, Tumbe, Shumba Mjini and Kojani, where there is good access to the sea. Government constructed fish markets have also tended to concentrate activities in these areas enabling the catch to be readily sold. But informal fishing was also undertaken, often in dug-out canoes, where there is a beach or harbour, to supply food at a household level.

Dugout canoes in an informal harbour, on the beach near Tumbe

Dugout canoes in an informal harbour, on the beach near Tumbe. The boat in the fore- ground is being scorched to kill marine boring insects.

The abandoned towns present their own challenges. They were first listed in the 1930’s by a district education officer who, on his days off, went searching for ruins. We relocated the sites in the 1980’s now much more ruined and covered in thick bush. With expanding populations, this has now been cleared away and the sites are now extensively farmed, allowing us to map them in detail, to collect surface pottery, and dig test pits. The Department of Antiquities has made a major effort to conserve the ruined mosques and tombs and several have part time guards to protect the sites.

Drone image of the ruined 18th century mosque at Mandani (July 2019).

Drone image of the ruined 18th century mosque at Mandani (July 2019).

In July, we mapped six sites, Kichokotchwe, Mandani, Kiungoni, Chambani Mjini, Tumbe / Chwaka and Shengejuu, excavated test pits and made surface collections. All the sites lie close to the seashore, with accessible harbours, and cover around 4-5 ha. Each had a mosque and stone tombs. Chronological range could be judged from the ceramics – that included post-Ming dynasty Chinese export blue and white pottery, and at the final phase European Maastrict painted wares of c. 1850. Why they were abandoned at this time is unclear but may be linked with the economic dislocations linked to plantation slavery and the decline of the Mazruis.

The Kichokochtwe site

The Kichokochtwe site, showing its location with fringing inter-tidal flats, facing out onto the sound between the main island and Kojani island.  

 

Tomorrow we will be looking further into the Kichokochtwe site.