Dr. Elgidius Ichumbaki, Associate Professor in the Department of Archaeology & Heritage Studies at the University of Dar es Salaam, in collaboration with popular Tanzanian rapper Chemical, has written a ‘Bongo Flava’ song entitled ‘Bahari Yetu’ (Our Ocean) outlining the importance of Marine Cultural Heritage and its relationship to the challenges currently facing Tanzanian coastal communities.
The song is intended to raise awareness of Marine Cultural Heritage in the region in a local style (Bongo Flava is a popular East African music genre) and has been widely featured on radio and television in Tanzania as well as on social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube).
It is sung in Kiswahili (with English sub-titles) and has been widely played by Swahili radio stations and televisions channels beyond Tanzania including Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, and Rwanda.
As well as Tanzania the song makes reference to the other counties included in the Rising from the Depths project (Kenya, Mozambique and Madagascar) and, as a result, has become an anthem for the aims of the network as a whole.
The ‘Musicalizing Marine Cultural Heritage in Tanzania’ team are now working on a short documentary covering the making of the song and the issues it addresses. The documentary will aim to cover a behind the scenes production of the music video but also addressing the wider themes discussed in the song.
The Hidden Histories team have produced a UNESCO Briefing on the role of intangible cultural heritage in coastal Tanzania. It covers the research undertaken within the project and sets out recommendations for further work. You can read the full briefing here.
Bi Peris, at work on the seaweed fields – Image by Jenny Matthews
The Futures through Underwater Pasts have been carrying out fieldwork and surveys in Mgao where they have conducted a tide survey as well as an excavation where they found 16th-17th century beads as well as observing the ruins at Mgao, associated with the French Slave Trade in Tanzania.