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

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

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

Miza Alex, University of Dar es Salaam

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boat Mapping – MUCH to discover in Mida Creek

Mark Lamont – MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek

 

Intertidal ‘wreck’ survey in Mida Creek

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

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

 

In the shadow of the dhow

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

 

Mida Creek Boat Map

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

You can access the site here.

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

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

Mida Creek’s vessels in context

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boat-sheds

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Conclusions

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

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

 

Suggested and Further Reading:

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

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

Marine Cultural Heritage in Northern Mozambique 

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

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

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

Survey work underway on SV Bom Dia at Ilha de Mozambique

Survey work underway on SV Bom Dia at Ilha de Mozambique

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Onboard training to UNESCO delegates, CAIRIM personnel and community volunteers

Onboard training to UNESCO delegates, CAIRIM personnel and community volunteers

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

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

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

 

Obed demonstrates nursery making

MUCH to Discover Website Launch

Caesar Bita – MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek

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

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

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

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

The website can be accessed here.

 

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

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

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

CoastSnap Update

CoastSnap Mozambique – Caridad Ballesteros

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

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

Project team sat outside ministeranny serasera

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

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

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

Project team sat outside ministeranny serasera

Stolen objects from site

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

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

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

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

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

 

TRAINING PLAN

1st day

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

– What is Unesco?

– Definition of underwater cultural heritage

– Potentials of the underwater cultural heritage

– Threats to the underwater cultural heritage

– Why is an international treaty necessary?

– Benefits of ratifying the 2001 convention

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

– Shipwrecked vessels in the maritime territory of Madagascar

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

– Activity carried out and current situation on the 3 wrecks

  1. Management of underwater cultural heritage

– At local level

– At regional level

– On a national level

– At an international level

  1. The village animator at the population level

– Definition of the village animator

– Role of village animator

– Behavior of a village leader

  1. Communication

– Definition

– Elements of communication

– Structure of an effective message

 

2nd day

  1. Awareness

– Objective of awareness

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

– Steps to follow for each type of awareness

  1. Action plan, monthly report and target setting

– Development of the action plan

– Completion of a monthly activity report

– Calculation of global and individual target setting

  1. Signing of employment agreement

– Drafting of the engagement agreement

– Convention signature by village leaders

Stolen Objects from local site

Attempt of depredation of the wreckages failed in Salary north

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

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

Stolen Objects from local site

Stolen objects from site

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Project team stood by car

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

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

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

Project team stood by car

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reharbouring Heritage

RAI RESEARCH SEMINAR

SEMINAR SERIES AT THE ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE

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

Dr Jonathan Skinner (University of Roehampton) and partners

Wednesday 25 March 5:30 – 7:30 pm

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

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

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

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

 

Mangrove field

MUCH to Discover Mangrove Reforestation

Caesar Bita – MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek

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

Mangrove planting Mangrove field Female volunteer planting Mangrove

 

Bidii an Kazi women fencng plots for the nurseries

MUCH to Discover and KEFRI Partnership

Caesar Bita – MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek

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

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

 

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

 

Heritage on the Edge: New Approaches to African Coastal Heritage

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

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

 

Heritage on the Edge: New Approaches to African Coastal Heritage

PA-16 Mark Horton, Jon Henderson and Laura Basell

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

THE SAFA DEADLINE IS 31TH JANUARY FOR ABSTRACTS 

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

We look forward to hearing from you!

Jon.Henderson@nottingham.ac.uk

lb434@leicester.ac.uk

Mark.Horton@rau.ac.uk

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

African Handbook of Climate Change Adaptation – Call for Abstracts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

University of Exeter, 10-11 January 2020

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

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

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

WITH Coastal Style Interviews in Katembe

Sarah Worden and Solange Macamo

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

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

You can read the full blog on the visit here.

MUCH to Discover launch canoes in Mida

Caesar Bita – MUCH to Discover in Mida Creek

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

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

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

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

Contemporary coastal themed capulana designs purchased in Maputo November 2019

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

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

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

View across the bay to Maputo city from Incassane, Katembe

View across the bay to Maputo city from Incassane, Katembe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The focus group and project team, Incassane

The focus group and project team, Incassane

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

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

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

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

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

Contemporary coastal themed capulana designs purchased in Maputo November 2019

Contemporary coastal themed capulana designs purchased in Maputo November 2019

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

Coastal Hazards in Africa Conference

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

Coastal Hazards in Africa

October 2020 | Durban, South Africa

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

Hidden Histories: untold stories of land and sea

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

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

Discovering MUCH in Mida

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

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

Map showing Mida Creek

Mida Creek

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elgidius Ichumbaki, Edward Pollard, Jean-Christophe Comte

The Kisima Project

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by E. Ichumbaki

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

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

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

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

Photo by E. Ichumbaki

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

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

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

Photo by E. Ichumbaki

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by E. Ichumbaki

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

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

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

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

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

Elgidius Ichumbaki, Edward Pollard, Jean-Christophe Comte

The Kisima Project

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

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

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

Photo by E. Ichumbaki

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Neema Munisi.

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

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

Photo by Jean-Christophe Comte

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Elgidius Ichumbaki

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

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

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

Cari Ballesteros

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

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

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

View of Inhambane Bay and mangrove forest

View of Inhambane Bay and mangrove forest

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

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

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

Participants of the workshop in Inhambane-Tofo beach.

Participants of the workshop in Inhambane-Tofo beach.

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

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

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

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

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

The second CoastSnap Mozambique workshop in Ponta do Ouro

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

Cari Ballesteros

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

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

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

The second CoastSnap Mozambique workshop in Ponta do Ouro

The second CoastSnap Mozambique workshop in Ponta do Ouro

Participants of the workshop in Ponta do Ouro

Participants of the workshop in Ponta do Ouro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rising from the Depths Public Lecture – University of York

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

The evening will include three presentations:

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

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

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

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

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

Cari Ballesteros

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr Caridad Ballesteros presenting the project

Dr Caridad Ballesteros presenting the project

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

Presentation of the CoastSnap station near the Fortress beach

Presentation of the CoastSnap station near the Fortress beach

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

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

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

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

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

Weather information and livelihoods in Mafia Island

Fasco Chengula (University of Roehampton PhD Student)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sensing the Marine Environment: Everyday experiences of a fishing community

Victor Alati (University of Roehampton PhD Student)

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

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

Ringnet fishers preparing to go fishing early in the morning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monicah Sairo (University of Roehampton PhD Student)

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

Monicah waiting for the captain, traditional dhow

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

Monicah at a youth creative space in Lamu

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

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

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

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

Part of the Bagamoyo beach with local boats

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

Bahari Yetu, Urithi Wetu:

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

Part of the Bagamoyo beach with local boats

Photo 1: Part of the Bagamoyo beach with local boats

 Photo by E. Ichumbaki

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

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

Daniel and Martha interviewing a tourist from Spain

Photo: Daniel and Martha interviewing a tourist from Spain

Photo by Neema Munisi

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by an unknown

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

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

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

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

Rising from the Depths Call Three Launched

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

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

Read the full call here.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Look out for further project updates from all the team.

Sarah Worden. August 2019

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

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

Bahari Yetu, Urithi Wetu Project Team:

John P. Cooper, University of Exeter

Elgidius Ichumbaki, University of Dar Es Salaam

Lucy Blue, University of Southampton

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

East Pemba Maritime Heritage Project Team:

Mark Horton, Royal Agricultural University

Eréndira Quintana Morales, Northern Illinois University

Shadia Taha, University of Cambridge

Abdallah Khamis Ali, Zanzibar Heritage Foundation.

Abdallah Mkumbukwa, State University of Zanzibar

Laura Basell, University of Leicester

 

Women’s work

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

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

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

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

Seaweed being laid out to dry on the beach at Tumbe

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

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

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

East Pemba Maritime Heritage Project Team:

Mark Horton, Royal Agricultural University

Eréndira Quintana Morales, Northern Illinois University

Shadia Taha, University of Cambridge

Abdallah Khamis Ali, Zanzibar Heritage Foundation.

Abdallah Mkumbukwa, State University of Zanzibar

Laura Basell, University of Leicester

 

The technologies are changing

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

 

Fibreglass boats are increasingly replacing traditional wooden boats for fishing.

Fibreglass boats are increasingly replacing traditional wooden boats for fishing.

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

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

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

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.

Preserving the Maritime Cultural Heritage on Pemba Island, Tanzania – Part 1

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

 

In a year-long project from the Rising from the Depths Network, a collaboration between Zanzibar Heritage Foundation, State University of Zanzibar, the Royal Agricultural University and the University of Leicester investigates the maritime heritage of Pemba island.  

Bringing the catch in; Tumbe fishing village Pemba island, Tanzania (July 2019).

Surviving in north-east Pemba is a maritime way of life that apparently has changed little in the last 300 years. Using traditional fishing methods and boats enable the fragile reef and marine environments to be exploited in a sustainable way. The daily rhythm brings in the catch for sale at midday for sale on the beach, while the women go out in search of shell fish that can be collected in the inter-tidal zone. Behind the villages the rice fields provide the carbohydrates, the cattle graze on the harvested grasses, while shade is provided by the coconuts, mango, banana and citrus trees. But it is not all as it seems, and the East Pemba Maritime Heritage project has been investigating how modern fishing methods are now threatening not just the maritime heritage but also the sustainability of marine environment.

Pemba – the green island of the western Indian Ocean

Pemba island is the sister island to Zanzibar and was known to the medieval Arabs as the Green Island or Jazirat al-Khadra on account of its verdant fertility. Pemba became famous for its spices, especially cloves, grown on slave-operated plantations from the 19th century. These plantations introduced a new population to the island (Arab landowners and their slaves from the interior of Africa) and cleared much of the centre and south of Pemba of its coastal forest. The original inhabitants, Swahili people who were the descendants of the medieval port cities, were confined to the coast, and in the 16th century moved to northern and eastern regions, where they could grow rice in stream-fed valleys and fish in the sheltered lagoons and estuaries.  Here they abandoned their former activity as Indian ocean merchants, and instead created a food-producing maritime economy that produced such surpluses that it was able to feed much of the mainland coast and plantations that were being established during the 18th and 19th centuries – these activities accrued much wealth for the new towns’ inhabitants.  This economy linked the production of grains, such as rice and millet, extensive dairy herds of cattle, the exploitation of fish and of shellfish. One of the towns is still known as Maziwa Ngombe – ‘the milk of the cow’, because we were told there was so much milk, that is was literally poured away into the earth!

Location of research area and towns on north east Pemba island.

Since the 19th century, north-east Pemba has been neglected. It was the capital of the Mazrui who built a fort and tombs at Tumbe, but they were defeated by the Busaidi rulers of Zanzibar in 1822. With the new plantations in the south, the inhabitants of the north east, especially in the Micheweni peninsula, were allowed to continue their way of life, with little colonial or indeed British interference.  The East Pemba Maritime Heritage project, as part of the Rising from the Depths Network, is looking at this neglected part of the Zanzibar archipelago, where there is little supervision or control of the maritime activities by government officials, and where the Swahili towns still rely on the sea for their survival. We are working as a collaborative team of Zanzibari and international scholars. Our approach is both contemporary and historical – to record through observation and interviews what is the current situation, the challenges of the future, and to delve into the past, though interviews, archival study and archaeological surveys.

 

Discussing (Marine) Cultural Heritage at a Development Studies Conference

Rosalie Hans, Making Maritime Museums Matter in Mozambique

The annual Development Studies Association (DSA) conference took place in Milton Keynes this year from 19 to 21 June and as a novice to a conference in this discipline I was excited to find out how it would differ from the heritage and museum studies gatherings I’m used to (spoiler alert, it wasn’t so different). However, the fact that, as a heritage professional, it was the first time going to a conference in development studies surely indicates the need for merging these fields more often to discuss the multiple challenges of maritime heritage and development that Rising from the Depths also addresses.

The panel that brought me to Milton Keynes was called ‘History and Development: Practicing the Past in Pursuit of ‘Progress’’ and fell squarely into the cultural heritage and sustainable development theme that has become increasingly topical over the past few years. Conveners Charlotte Cross and John Giblin represented both sides of the discussion respectively as a Lecturer in International Development at the Open University and as Keeper of World Cultures at the National Museums of Scotland and introduced the topic from their areas of expertise. Dr John Giblin started with the uses of post-conflict heritage in northern Uganda and the meanings of memory while Dr Charlotte Cross talked about the invocation of tradition by local vigilante groups in Tanzania. Then Dr Ioanna Katapidi, of the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, presented on an international research project that looked at how and what UNESCO world heritage sites can contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). Using case studies from Jordan and China, she highlighted some of the challenges of translating the potential of world heritage sites into practical action contributing towards the SDG’s. Following this, Dr Mark Lamont, who is currently a co-investigator on a RftD-funded project in Mida Creek, Kenya, raised some useful questions on the expected value derived from cultural heritage projects in a development environment, particularly related to GCRF funding in the UK. His point on whether the visibility afforded through digital humanities technologies, such as those promoted by RftD, really put the control over scholarship and knowledge in the hands of UK academia is especially relevant for Rising from the Depths.

In the afternoon, I presented on ‘the promise of the museum’, using RftD research in Mozambique as one of my case studies. The Museu das Pescas, or Fisheries Museum, in Maputo provides an excellent example of a museum that was constructed as part of a larger development project to add a cultural component to an otherwise economically focused programme. My argument that there is a danger of reducing museums (and cultural heritage in general) to an ill-defined resource that does not live up to its expectations resonated well with the overall theme of the panel. I proposed that to live up to their promise, the expectations of museum benefits should be changed to aims that they can deliver, such as social and cultural visibility, political recognition and promotion of local cultural appreciation. After this, we stayed in east Africa with Dr Lotte Hughes presenting her research on alternative rites of passage (ARP) that aim to replace FGM practices in Kenya. These ceremonies include a range of activities drawn from different sources of inspiration such as Christian religion and international development discourse leading to hybridised cultural performances. A presentation recorded in Zimbabwe by Kemist Shumba informed us on a research plan for looking at the use of traditional games and song in promoting health and well-being. His presence via Skype was greatly appreciated but also a stark reminder of the difficulty of African academics and professionals to receive visas for the UK which affected three other papers scheduled for this panel. It was a shame that these presenters could not share their research with those able to attend. Rounding off the panel for the day was Camila dos Santos who presented on Brazil’s development engagement with Angola and the ‘renegotiation of its position to modernity’ by engaging with Brazil’s and Angola’s shared (but not the same) colonial pasts. The article she wrote with Maira S. Gomes on this multifaceted topic came out in 2019 and can be found here: https://pucrj.academia.edu/CSantos. Last but not least, Dr Astrid Jamar shared some pictures which give an impression of the panel on Twitter which can be found here: https://twitter.com/astrid_jamar/status/1141717027331223554

During the panel I felt ‘like a fish in water’ (excuse the Dutchism) among colleagues concerned with the same challenges surrounding heritage and development, but the keynotes and other panels of the conference were extremely interesting and inspiring as well. It was a privilege to attend the keynote by Professor Mahmood Mamdani who gave a broad overview of the history of the structures of power that underpin the nation-state, colonial ideology and the prosecution of minorities. A second, and equally inspiring, keynote was delivered by Dr Robtel Neajai Pailey, entitled ‘De-Centering the ‘White Gaze’ of Development’ which was an important call to address race as the elephant in the room in development studies. She combined critical race theory and critical development studies in order to ‘mainstream race, like gender and class, as the way forward’ because as she argued powerfully ‘to oppose racism one must notice race’. I would urge any heritage specialists working in development contexts to explore development theories, to attend conferences such as these and to inform themselves on key themes current in development studies. Looking at development through a (marine) cultural heritage lens can offer new perspectives on thinking about how past-making (heritage) influences future-making (development) (see Basu & Modest’s introduction to their edited volume ‘Museums, Heritage and Development, 2015). Nevertheless, development studies also has a lot to offer to heritage studies when it comes to critically appraising development contexts and thinking through the social, economic, cultural and environmental implications of development interventions. This conference was an enriching experience and just like Rising from the Depths, the panel was a step towards bringing different disciplines together to think about the uses and relevance of the past for creating sustainable futures. The edited volume that is planned as an outcome of this panel will hopefully contribute to furthering the dialogue on cultural heritage and sustainable development as well.

The controversy of the Lamu Coal Power Station, Kenya

Wycliffe Omondi 

The scramble for Africa’s abundant, unexploited minerals and natural resources has of late invited a new scramble by powers from within and without the continent. These new trends, especially along the coast of East Africa, are closely linked with oil and gas prospecting industries, major seaports’ and road network constructions which are stipulated to bring development to East Africa and Kenya in particular. However, more often such development projects may also be potential threats to the rich marine cultural heritage if not well planned.

Ever since I started working in the heritage sector I have always been fascinated by the antagonistic relationships between cultural heritage conservation and development. Coincidentally, I am currently a PhD candidate at the University of Nottingham where my research focuses on the critical examination and analysis of cultural heritage conservation as a driver for local community sustainable development with specific reference sites along the Kenya coast.

One area that has of late attracted major infrastructural development in Kenya is Lamu archipelago located on the northern coast of Kenya. The area has been earmarked as the convergence point for a US$29.2 billion Lapsset (Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport) Corridor program by the Government of Kenya (GoK). The archipelago is a system of six inhabited islands that are closely interconnected not only with the Islands but also with the surrounding environment including the mainland, in terms of fishing grounds, culture, family ties, mangrove forests and farmlands.

The Lapsset program has several components including the development of a seaport with 32 deep sea berths at Manda Bay (three berths are currently under construction), a standard gauge railway line to Juba and Addis Ababa, a road network, oil pipelines to and from South Sudan and Ethiopia, an oil refinery, three international airports and three resort cities at Lamu, Isiolo and Lake Turkana shores corridor. This program is part of the Government of Kenya’s national development strategy Vision 2030 economic pillar which aims at transforming Kenya into an industrialized middle income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens by 2030 in a “clean and secure environment.”

Controversially, a coal power plant, Lamu Coal Power Station (LCPS), is to be developed in order to operate as part of Lapsset. Alongside the development of Lamu Port, resorts and the oil pipelines this power station is envisaged as one of the key catalysts in the development of Lamu. It must be built to provide electricity to make the development and subsequent habitation possible.

Coal Development site in Lamu Kenya

The proposed LCPS is located on the mainland near Lamu Island’s Old Town – a Unesco World Heritage site. The Old Town is considered one of the oldest and best preserved living Swahili towns whose golden age is believed to have been the period between 17th century and 19th century under Omani control. Inscription of Lamu Old Town into Unesco’s World Heritage List in 2001 was due to its architecture and urban structures that reveal the interaction of cultural influences of Africa, Asia and Europe over centuries to produce a distinctive Swahili culture. In addition it is considered a significant centre for the study of Islamic and Swahili cultures. A traditional function it has retained for centuries up to date.

Coast of Lamu Kenya

Due to the fragile nature of Lamu’s environment and culture, concerns were raised by local community members and NGOs’ such as Save LamuNatural Justice and Katiba Institute on the potential irreversible changes on the delicate natural environment and rapid disruption of the towns cultural traditions which forms an integral part of Lamu identity.

Despite local opposition to the coal power plant, the Government of Kenya awarded Amu Power Company (APC) the development rights in September 2014 (deal valued at approximately US$2 billion). APC is a consortium of Centum Investments Company Limited (a Kenyan private equity firm), Gulf Energy (a Kenyan energy generating company) and Sichuan Electric Power Design and Consulting Company Limited (SEDC) which is a subsidiary of Power Construction Corporation of China (Power China). Subsequently in mid- 2017, a 25 year Power purchase agreement between Lamu Coal Power Station with the investor Amu power, was singed in China witnessed by the President of Kenya, with guarantee from African Development Bank, even though the project is a private investment. “The President’s presence at the signing was likely arranged by the promoters of the project to shore up support for it,” according to David Ndii (2017), a Kenyan Daily Nation Newspaper columnist. However, the construction has repeatedly been halted due to opposition by environmentalists and human rights groups, for the plant will lead to air pollution, destruction of mangroves and breeding grounds for endangered species of marine turtles, fish and other marine life. The latest suspension of the project is a decision made in 2018 by a Kenyan court, sending the dispute back to National Environment Tribunal.

Obviously Kenya does not need to buy wind or solar along the coast of Kenya.  According to World Economic Forum Report 2018, wind has no clean-up costs either. It stands to reason then, that the wind plant beats coal hands down on cost and efficiency. For the case of LCPS, coal will have to be purchased and ferried all the way from South Africa to Lamu, hence incurring additional cost.

Last week, more intrigue emerged about the coal plant, after Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), a US based philanthropic research and analyses organization that focuses on financial and economic issues related to energy and the environment, revealed in its report entitled, The Proposed Lamu Coal Plant: The Wrong Choice for Kenya,’ argues that even if the plant never generates any power Kenya will still have to pay heavily for generated electricity.  “That the Coal project true costs during the years 2024 through 2037 could average as high as US$22 to US$75  per KWh.” That is three to 10 times the company’s initial 2014 projection. IEEFA, also admits that the planned 981MW Lamu coal plant is outright a poor investment—“except for the few companies backing the proposal and the Chinese firm contracted to build it.”  Therefore “Kenya should cancel the project.”

Kenya has also pledged in several international platforms to move the country to 100% renewable energy – the coal plant is surely the antithesis of this aim.

On the 24th June the National Environment Tribunal (NET)  in Nairobi revoked a permit issued for the contentious project. They cancelled an environmental impact assessment licence for the Lamu coal project, ruling that “the circumstances under which it was issued were flawed.”

However, will this judgement stand?

Will there be an appeal?

This happened in a previous court case between Lapsset and Lamu community members in April 2018  where despite the fact that the High Court of Kenya declared that the construction of the Lamu Port failed basic constitutional and legal requirements (including violations of legal procedure on public participation, the right to information, the right to a clean and healthy environment and right to culture) and the government should pay US $17Million in compensation to 4,600 fishermen in Lamu County,  the Kenya Ports Authority nonetheless filed a Notice of Appeal on the grounds that, “the judges of the lower court gave orders which had not been pleaded” and successfully obtained orders from the Court of Appeal suspending the implementation of the judgment. Consequently, despite the judgment, the Lamu Port construction continues unaffected by the decision, dashing petitioners’ expectations of seeing the project proponents take tangible steps to implement the court’s judgment. Equally the fishermen are still waiting for their compensation.

What is the way forward for Lamu community members, if the judgement is upheld or otherwise? Are the project planners sensitive to heritage? Do they understand that heritage is intertwined with a people’s identity, worldview and their livelihoods?

Participant in a focus group discussion at Pate Island indicating areas of harvesting

Field survey to understand changes in mangrove use and the implication to local community in Lamu Kenya

Amina Hamza (PhD student, Bournemouth University)

The coastal community in Kenya have strong dependence on mangrove ecosystem for their livelihood. Mangrove exploitation for building poles forms a subsistence livelihood for the locals with Lamu county exhibiting the highest dependence. Records indicate along with slave and ivory, mangrove poles made up a major regional trade by the 9th century. However, mangroves are threatened by both natural and human induces threats. In addition, Kenya has witnessed rapid development in ports and infrastructure which have had impacts on the ecosystem and the communities. The extent of these impacts on mangrove use in Kenya has not been well documented. Furthermore, the changes have had tremendous impacts on the community livelihood some of which are irreversible.

Bed made from mangrove wood, photo taken at one of the households interviewed

Bed made from mangrove wood, photo taken at one of the households interviewed

In order to understand how the use of mangrove resources has changed over time, the drivers of change and document community knowledge on climate change, I was awarded a grant by Bournemouth University’s Global Challenges Research Funds (BU’s GCRF) to conduct a field survey in Lamu, Kenya. The survey involved focus groups discussions with different mangrove users; and household interviews using semi structured questionnaires conducted in Lamu, Manda, Pate and Ndau Islands in June and July 2019. The four weeks field activity started with a meeting with the county ecosystem conservator and foresters at the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) to collect information on the amount of mangrove wood harvested in Lamu and its monetary value and identify mangrove user groups in the area. KFS is the government department that is in charge with the management of mangrove forests in Kenya.

Participant in a focus group discussion at Pate Island indicating areas of harvesting

Participant in a focus group discussion at Pate Island indicating areas of harvesting

Preliminary findings are expected to be ready in November 2019. The findings will provide information on how environmental changes have influenced livelihood dependent on mangrove and provide possible adaptation options to increase local community resilience to environmental/climate change that will be disseminated to different stakeholders. In general, the research will advance current knowledge on changes of mangrove use and natural and human induced impacts on mangrove resources that will inform policy and assist coastal communities and governments agencies in current and future mangrove management planning. The activity is contributing to the broad aim of the interdisciplinary project Rising from the Depths (RftD) funded by GCRF involving several universities in UK including Bournemouth University.

Lobster trap on a beach in Madagascar

‘Scoping’ Maritime Cultural Heritage: A visit to SEED Madagascar and Sainte Luce to prepare for June’s Festival of the Sea

Jonathan Skinner

(Featured image – Sainte Luce fishermen in handmade pigoues (canoes) rowing out to check their lobster pots – J. Skinner, April 2019)

There were no bins where I was staying. This was one of the things I noticed first and stayed with me during my first visit to Sainte Luce reserve, Madagascar. Jerry’s Huts sits right by the sea with very limited running water and electricity. It has a continual breeze in from the sea that keeps the air fresh and the mosquitos away. The Indian Ocean crashes in day and night. I was opening my food packs from the UK but there was nowhere to put the plastic wrappers. In fact there were scant plastics around at all. I was in what SEED Madagascar staff colloquially call ‘the bush’.

Yet, Sainte Luce is more coastal than bush environment. It is in the Anosy part of southeast Madagascar, 50km northeast of regional centre Taolagnaro (Fort Dauphin), a coastal region where French settlers first landed, and one of the last few places of intact coastal forest. The Sainte Luce Reserve is a hamlet of three villages (Ambandrika, Ampanastromboky, and Manafiafy – the last is by the sea and is also the name of a nearby exclusive luxury beach and rainforest lodge for ‘primitive’ tourists, that is tourists of the primitive, I suppose). The approximately 2400 inhabitants of Sainte Luce depend on natural maritime resources, local forestry, subsistence agriculture and mahampy reed weaving products (mats, hats, baskets) for their livelihood. It is also the epicentre of the lobster export industry in Madagascar: according to NGO Azafady (2014: 4), 50% of Madagascar’s annual national spiny lobster catch comes from along a 150km stretch of coastline focused around the Sainte Luce hamlet (approximately 18 tons/yr). 80% of Sainte Luce’s population depend upon this fishing (Sabatini et al. 2007) making it the core means of income generation for the community.

In Madagascar, there are many taboos (‘fady’ such as not pointing, avoiding certain animals, or talking about food). Likewise, ‘fomba’ is the term given to local cultural traditions that show respect to other, including the ancestors. One central decision-making tradition is the practice of ‘kabary’, group discussion-making. SEED Madagascar – a UK registered NGO with offices in Taolagnaro – had recently facilitated in Sainte Luce the re-establishment of a local Riaky (sea) committee to represent the community in the management of coastal maritime resources, assist with the implementation of local ‘dina’ (rules), and to help them to develop a new voluntary no-take zone (VNTZ) with closed and open seasons (currently open April to May and August to September inclusive). They did this through close, intense kabary discussion with the community, effectively co-producing a successful ‘community-managed small-scale lobster fishery’ (Long 2017a).

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

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

I was the only person staying there at Jerry’s in Sainte Luce, visiting the SEED Madagascar’s base camp nearby where they conduct their public health, social development, and conservation projects that range from supplying village wells for safe, clean water to drink to reduce levels of severe and life-threatening diarrhoea; to recording the daily lobster catch, sales and effort endured by the fishermen to ultimately facilitate community-based, sustainable lobster fisheries management; to night patrolling ‘bush’ transects counting lemur eyes shining back at them in the dark to assess annual animal levels and to facilitate their safe movement; and promoting and supporting a local women’s embroidery group, Project Stitch, with social enterprise, business advice and marketing platforms.

Project Stitch, Sainte Luce – J. Skinner, April 2019

Project Stitch, Sainte Luce – J. Skinner, April 2019

I was to spend three nights in the bush, spending the days learning about the Voluntary No Take Zone (VNTZ) where local fishermen have agreed to operate a community lobster fishing regulation system of open and closed seasons – in addition to national regulations to leave female lobsters with eggs and lobsters less than 20cm in size, and to not use nets, spears, harpoons or snorkels while fishing. I was to liaise with the Chef Fokontany (Head of the Village) of local villages in preparation for a return visit in June when I was to bring a textile artist and a filmmaker from the UK, and co-organise with SEED a range of local and regional bands and dancers to hold a Festival of the Sea to celebrate local marine cultural heritage: the traditional practices that best-suited conservation and sustainability, maritime cultural heritage as resilience in the people, and to swap skills and co-produce knowledge, artefacts and choreography. This was also an opportunity to test a community-engagement-through-festival approach developed in the Caribbean (Skinner and Bryan 2015), and the conservation-through-carnival suggestion that we had developed on Anguilla when examining a contentious sea turtle moratorium established until 2020 (EU BEST 2016).

EU BEST sea turtle conservation grant

EU BEST sea turtle conservation grant

There, on this current British colony, the University of Roehampton partnered with the Government of Anguilla’s Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources, and the Anguilla National Trust. From 2016 to 2019 we have been working to mitigate the overexploitation of the sea turtle – ‘combining community action with scientific evidence to drive legislative change’ (EU BEST 2016). The project brings stakeholders together to engage in open dialogue about the island’s limited natural resources and their best management. We combined scientific evidence of sea turtle foraging and breeding with information about the cultural heritage of local people to engage and increase national awareness and support for the sea reptile. One initiative was to join in the annual ‘Festival Del Mar’ (Festival of the Sea) with sea turtle floats to raise public awareness as to their plight (EU BEST 2016). To translate concepts: Anguilla used Malagasy techniques of kabary group discussion to transform and develop support structures for the animal, its husbandry, and its fishermen; the Sainte Luce Festival of the Sea was to use Caribbean carnival to celebrate best lobster conservation and fishing management practice in the community in one of the first VNTZ’s of its kind in the Indian Ocean. We wanted to test the plasticity of the Caribbean model as an appropriate mode of maritime cultural heritage expression in Madagascar.

Musician awaits auditions at the entrance to Sainte Luce Reserve – J. Skinner, April 2019Musician awaits auditions at the entrance to Sainte Luce Reserve – J. Skinner, April 2019

In the mornings – very early in the mornings – the lobster fishermen return with their catch caught in vahipiky vine pots skilfully woven by the family or bought from mountain villages nearby. The lobsters are measured and weighed by SEED before being sold on to collecteurs (middle people) who send on the lobsters to Taolagnaro for international distribution. Many of the fishermen use boats owned by the opérateurs and so have to sell the lobsters at uncompetitive prices to collecteurs working with the opérateurs. Stephen Long (2017b) notes that the development of a No Take Zone concentrated the efforts of the fishermen when they could fish, and brought them ‘bumper catches’ from the replenished supply, but that an unexpected consequence of the surplus was to break the buyers’ monopoly, giving a 33% rise in price for the lobster that added significant value to the lives of the fishermen and their families.

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

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

There are exceptional musicians and dancers in the local community, and part of the visit was to audition them for the Festival of the Sea as well as troupes in Taolagnaro so that was to be a local as well as regional event.

Village life stopped when the drums and strings played and Group Dodomy entertained. Both the local music and dancing can be described as traditional with a Southern African influence of polyrhythms and contrabody movements: stillness in the torso, fast leg movements up and down or side to side, hands flicking stylishly upwards and downwards characterise some of this dancing.

Group Dodomy Festival of the Sea auditions (https://youtu.be/8DHkzPu9Sis) – J. Skinner, April 2019

Group Dodomy Festival of the Sea auditions (https://youtu.be/8DHkzPu9Sis) – J. Skinner, April 2019

The dance auditions showed the local skills in body isolations, and contra-body juxtapositions – opposing patterns, or contrasts between movement and non-movement. Forward-side-back sets of kicks; or side-to-sides with loose arms and hands towards the waist remind me of some salsa, rumba, cumbia complexes that have their origins in Africa and travelled at different times most notably to the Caribbean islands and eventually to the Americas. At the end of the Sainte Luce audition, we took turns dancing, swapping moves. Unfortunately – or fortunately (see the following June blog) – only I had a camera so there were no recordings!?

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

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

Back in Taolagnaro, we held meetings to consider the possibilities of the Festival: what would work; what the community wanted and needed; how the logistics of food, water, electricity might be resolved; what was best ethical practice between the University of Roehampton and SEED Madagascar. We held further open auditions to urban hiphop singers, a reggae band, and traditional Tandroy and Tanosy music and dance groups. Here is a Tandroy clip: the ‘people from the thorns’, as the name translates for this ethnic group, are known for their short and pointy straw hats (satsok bory), and the dance has the similar fast-feet still-torso but there is also a characteristic hand-shaking. It reminded me of the Maori Haka in places and has similar rhythmic shouting – you can hear ‘Eka!’ in the YouTube clip which is ‘Yes!’ in Malagasy. Mirohondroho are a semi-professional troupe that perform regularly for locals, tourists, festivals. Here they are giving an audition that is loved by SEED staff, bar staff and a visiting anthropologist, all of whom are a dancing audience.

The next blog will showcase the Festival of the Sea that we held in Sainte Luce, 7-8 June 2019.

Stunning land and waterscapes and the obligatory lemur shot – J. Skinner and R. Rossizelà, April 2019Stunning land and waterscapes and the obligatory lemur shot – J. Skinner and R. Rossizelà, April 2019

Stunning land and waterscapes and the obligatory lemur shot – J. Skinner and R. Rossizelà, April 2019

 

References

Azafady (2014) A final report on Project Oratsimba – Prepared for SmartFish/FAO: Activities from June 2013 – March 2014. Tolagnaro. https://madagascar.co.uk/application/files/8515/4027/7111/11.03.2014_Phase_1_Final_Report.pdf.

EU BEST (2016) Saving the Sea Turtles of Anguilla: Combining community action with scientific evidence to drive legislative change. Project grant details website, ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/biodiversity/best/pdf/fs_saving_sea_turtles_en.pdf.

Long, S. (2017a) ‘Short-term impacts and value of a periodic no take zone (NTZ) in a community-managed small-scale lobster fishery, Madagascar’. PLoS ONE 12(5): e0177858. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0177858.

Long, S. (2017b) ‘The world is your lobster: sustainable fishing in Madagascar?’ UCL research blog post, https://london-nerc-dtp.org/2017/06/07/world-lobster-sustainable-fishing-madagascar accessed 16 July 2019.

Sabatini, G., Salley, S. Ramanamanjato, J.-B. (2007) ‘A review of the spiny lobster fishery in the Tolagnaro (Fort-Dauphin) Region’. In J. U. Ganzhorn, S. M. Goodman and M. Vincelette (eds.) Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation of Littoral Ecosystems in Southeastern Madagascar, Tolagnaro (Fort Dauphin). Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., pp. 299–308.

Skinner, J. and D. Bryan (2015) ‘Introduction’. In J. Skinner and D. Bryan (eds.) Consuming St. Patrick’s Day. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp.1-8.

CoastSnap User meeting and workshop in Toulouse (France)

Caridad Ballesteros

On 18th June 2019 the first CoastSnap User meeting took place in Toulouse (France) under the umbrella of Boot Camp Coastal Imaging 2019, organised by Dr Mitch Harley from the University of New South Wales, Australia. This was the first time the CoastSnap site owners have gathered together to discuss best practice, to share ideas and to learn key project tools. Starting in Australia, CoastSnap has been spreading around the world since 2017 with current sites in the UK, France, Brazil, Portugal, Spain and others. CoastSnap is a citizen science project in which participants take pictures of a beach from a particular viewpoint using a fixed metal stand. 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, and users are instructed to indicate the date and time the picture was taken. This simple idea allows the project team to build, over time, a database of images to understand shoreline behaviour, to analyse erosion, recovery cycles and storm impacts.

During the meeting, all users presented the first results and analysis for their site, as well as any difficulties experienced. I was there to present CoastSnap Mozambique, one of the 19 Rising from the Depths networkfunded projects. CoastSnap Mozambique will be the first site in Africa, which really excited the CoastSnap team, as this could bring new ways to obtain records in countries with a severe shortage of coastal data. Although it was not possible to present any outputs yet, as the CoastSnap stations will be installed in Mozambique later this month, I was really happy to present the relevance of a citizen science project in Mozambique, not only to record data in shoreline dynamics, but also to understand local perceptions of natural and cultural heritage.

CoastSnap team at Meeting

I noticed that there was something missing in all of the presentations, and that was the level of involvement of the local community. From the viewpoint of CoastSnap Mozambique, this is one of the strongest aspects. It is for this reason that in parallel to the beach surveys and the installation of the CoastSnap station (the metal frame and information boards) we will be running workshops to present the project and to understand coastal communities’ views on the project. We will consult with them, and other potential uses, over the pictures collected during the project to tackle potential concerns and conflicts which could later be built into coastal management plans. We will design activities, alongside educators, which will be carried out in schools to integrate the project outputs within sociology, the arts and science, and this will cover aspects of coastal identity and cultural and ecosystem values.

During my time in Toulouse, I learned the most technical aspects of the project, involving the analysis of coastal imaging and shoreline change using MATLAB. The tool will enable the team to analyse the series of images shared by our users, allowing us to view the evolution of the coastline over time. I will be sharing this newly acquired knowledge with my co-Investigators based in Mozambique, and these skills will then be passed on to project students within their universities, so the project can become self-sustaining after the formal project end date.

Next week, Dr Luciana Esteves (BU) and I will be in Mozambique to join the rest of the team, Dr Jaime Palalane from Eduardo Mondlane University and Dr Pedrito Cambrao from Lurio University to set up the four CoastSnap Stations and to run community workshops at each location (see table below) to encourage participation and ownership of the project and to obtain the views and knowledge of the local population.

Location Date Activity
Ilha de Moçambique Tue 30th July Beach survey and CoastSnap Installation
Wed 31st July Workshop
Ponta do Ouro (Maputo) Thu 1st Aug Beach survey and CoastSnap Installation
Fri 2nd Aug Workshop  (location: Kaya-Kweru Resort)
Tofo beach (Inhambane) Mon 5th Aug Beach survey and CoastSnap Installation
Tue 6th Aug Workshop (location: Escola Superior de Hotelaria e Turismo de Inhambane)

Cyclone Idai – hunger and devastation in Mozambique

A very powerful article on the human stories behind the utter devastation caused by https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/eye-of-the-storm/

Thanks to ⁦⁩ for taking the time to listen to them. It’s not too late to donate to ⁦

Marine heritage and sustainable development – Jon Henderson

I’m just back from the Society for American Archaeology’s (SAA) 84th Annual Meeting in Albuquerque where I took part in the HumAnE Archaeology Session organised by Carly Ameen and Naomi Sykes from the University of Exeter. Through a series of papers the session looked at using combined human-animal-environmental (HumAnE) data and how that can be analysed using a variety of arts and science-based techniques to unpick and model long-term bio-cultural dynamics.

Archaeology has always been interdisciplinary but I think we are at an exciting point with sessions like this stressing how long-term archaeological data, bio-cultural data and deep time data can inform solutions to the current global problems facing humanity. Archaeologists are uniquely placed to contribute a deep-time perspective on contemporary humanitarian issues, like those identified in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which are not exclusively modern phenomenon. Deep-time archaeological data can be collated, analysed and presented to help inform solutions to modern global challenges such as the effects of intensive food production, urbanisation, globalisation, climate change, disease transmission and inter-cultural conflict.

Using data from Rising from the Depths, my paper examined the legacy of the oceans and how data from past marine exploitation can help inform the sustainable development agenda. SDG14 Life Below Water recognises the economic and social benefits that sustainable use of marine resources can provide, including enhanced food security, sustainable energy generation, and poverty eradication through marine orientated livelihood opportunities. Providing deep-time data over millennia, the marine archaeological resource has more to offer than solutions based on tourism. For example, coastal management strategies and conservation projects rely on short-term baseline data that, at best, cover little more than a century. As a result, projects and strategies put into place are limited, and do not fully reflect ecosystem dynamics or the relative resilience of different species to the effects of both human activities and changes driven by long term climatic and other environmental factors.

Next month I’m off to the 1st Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Global Planning Meeting for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development in Copenhagen to make the case for considering marine heritage data in formulating sustainable solutions to the problems facing our oceans. While environmental sciences and ecological approaches have had a major role in the development of solutions, the potential role of marine cultural heritage as a usable resource and the long-term cultural importance of the marine environment are still not being properly considered. It is my belief that a marine cultural heritage outlook (prioritising human interaction with the sea in all its diversity) could provide the conceptual framework that unites, stimulates and informs interdisciplinary responses to the challenges set out in SDG 14. Wish me luck!

Mozambique Cyclone Disaster

We are shocked to see the awful news from Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, where tropical cyclone Idai has caused widespread destruction and loss of life. While it is well known that low-lying coastal cities and towns are enormously vulnerable to sea-level rise and extreme weather events, current estimates suggest this the deadliest tropical cyclone on record to have hit southern Africa.

The cyclone made landfall at the port of Beira, Mozambique’s fourth-largest city, with officials reporting that almost every building in this city of more than 500,000 people has been damaged. Early estimates for Mozambique suggest that up to a 1,000 people may have died. With the infrastructure of the area destroyed and large areas of coastal land now underwater, the worry is that this disaster could affect hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people.

Mozambique is vulnerable to periodic flooding during the rainy season but the harrowing pictures of inland seas with houses submerged up to roof level and people stranded on them only serve to illustrate how catastrophic this event has been.

To donate to the relief effort follow the links below:

https://crisisrelief.un.org/Mozambique-flash-appeal

https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/how-you-can-help/emergencies/mozambique-cyclone

Remembering Sebastiano Tusa

A minute of silence to remember Sebastiano Tusa on Monday, 11 March at the UNESCO Ministerial meeting on Underwater Cultural Heritage in Malindi, Kenya.

Professor Tusa was on his way to the meeting to deliver the keynote speech when he was tragically killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash at Addis Ababa on Sunday.

The maritime archaeological world is in shock. Professor Tusa was an internationally renowned scholar and a champion of underwater archaeology in Italy and around the world. He was one of the drafters of the original UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage and in 2004 was appointed as the first Superintendent of the Sea directing the Sicilian Soprintendenza del Mare marine archaeology team. More recently he was appointed Assesore for Cultural Heritage for the Government of Sicily. He directed archaeological projects in Italy, Malta, Tunisia, Libya, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Japan and Kenya and was the author of 700 archaeological publications.

He had great plans for future underwater research in Kenya.

We owe him so much. His passion and leadership will be greatly missed.

 

Snapshots of research in Maputo, Mozambique – Rosalie Hans

Being back in Mozambique for the first time since 2010 provides an interesting mixture of recognition, nostalgia and learning about the many changes the country has gone through in the last 9 years. I am fortunate to be here for one month for a pilot study on maritime museums and how these institutions can increase their role and relevance for their maritime communities. This collaborative project with Daniel Inoque of the Instituto Superior de Artes e Cultura has led us to research the Museu das Pescas in Maputo and the Museu da Marinha on Mozambique Island (Ilha de Moçambique). The first museum was opened in 2014 and shows the traditional fishing culture of the Mozambican coast in a modern building while the naval museum has been open since 1969 and forms part of a museum complex with the Palacio de São Paulo and the Museum of Sacred Art, located in a monumental building.

 

Apart from the challenge of speaking Portuguese the entire day, which I love but at times requires the patience of my colleagues, there are so many other aspects of the research that are not strictly speaking ‘research activities’ but nonetheless are necessary to make the research happen. While I was aware of this from my own PhD research in Kenya and Uganda, I still underestimated the time we are spending in meetings, making phone calls and negotiating administrative and infrastructural issues. As an early career researcher this is a useful lesson to be reminded of and hopefully the connections made and network built over these few weeks will be the foundations of future research in Mozambique on maritime cultural heritage.

 

The research so far, and the meetings with the fishing community of Costa do Sol in Maputo in particular, has been rewarding and insightful. The Conselho Comunitário de Pesca (CCP) or the Community Council of Fisheries is an active organisation at Costa do Sol, a neighbourhood known as Bairro dos Pescadores, where, unsurprisingly, the majority of people lives from artisanal (or small-scale) fishing. The president and secretary of the CCP helped us to invite different people to talk to about their perspective on fishing culture, their lives and current issues and challenges in their community and we conducted a number of interviews, returning another day for a group meeting. The different people we spoke to were keen to get across the importance of knowledge about different types of fish and preservation of the maritime ecosystem in Maputo Bay. While they showed pride in the boats they built, owned and maintained, the increase in the number of fishermen and the decrease of the average daily catch led our participants to conclude that they wanted a better life for their children outside of the fishing industry. They generally found that many Mozambicans and visitors were unaware of the hardships of fishing life.

 

In the Baixa of Maputo the Museu das Pescas is still developing its vision and direction for the future. The current indoor and outdoor exhibitions focus mainly on the material culture of the artisanal fishing industry but museum staff expressed plans to broaden its remit to include more of Mozambique’s diverse maritime heritage. We discussed how such an expansion could include the ideas of fishing communities, could be used to give visibility to the challenges of the fishing communities along the Mozambican coast and allow them to feel pride and ownership of their knowledge and skills.

 

The research continues this week in Mozambique Island, a UNESCO world heritage site in the north of Mozambique where centuries of global trade, occupation, resistance and renewal have led to a unique architectural mixture, with many different aspects of maritime cultural heritage to be considered. More on that in the next blog! Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome, just email me on Rosalie.Hans@nottingham.ac.uk!