the wachagga project

wachagga project

> abstract

During the colonial rule of Germany in Tanganyika, besides objects and human remains, a large amount of intangible cultural heritage of the native people was collected and brought to Germany. The people from the societies of origin do not have access to this heritage, although it is theirs. Mainly because this heritage is written and stored in the Germany in German language in the form of books and other publications, this project tries to jointly develop models on how this intangible cultural heritage can be returned to the societies of origin in the form of knowledge sharing and repatriation. The knowledge will be of great use to the contemporary communities of origin and even a large audience.

This project refers to the work of the missionary and ethnologist Dr Bruno Gutmann, who researched, recorded and published the social system, legal system, tribal teachings and historical tradition of the Wachagga, the people living around Mount Kilimanjaro. This project will digitise seven main books by Gutmann and translate one of them in a first step.

The restitution of this knowledge requires further research work in archives and libraries, scientific research and monitoring, digitalisation and transcription of the texts, and a rough translation into English of Gutmann’s works. Translation of such works into Kiswahili is required too, also field research in the Wachagga community, to find out and document what is known today and still present as tradition. Community engagement must be supported in order to disseminate the results of this project.

The project should also be an opportunity to raise awareness in Germany about our shared history with Tanzania, broaden our knowledge of the societies there, question entrenched thinking patterns, and see our shared history as an obligation and starting point for a shared future. The digitised books will be made available freely on the web page of the Tübingen – Moshi partnership association, the Kilimanjaro region web page, local libraries in Kilimanjaro, the University of Dar es Salaam library and its online repository. It will also be part of the Imagining Futures online repository.

quick menu

As this is an international cooperation between Tanzanian and German institutions and actors, all pages of the WACHAGGA PROJECT are in English.

Although all information on this website is freely accessible to the public, we would like to state that it is subject to copyright. This applies to the texts by Bruno Gutmann, but also to all other texts and the translations, both into English and into Kiswahili.
Please contact us if you wish to use or quote texts from this website. All quotations must mention the authors and/or translators.

We strongly recommend that you visit the WACHAGGA PROJECT site using a desktop computer to ensure that all functions can be used and that everything is displayed correctly.

Image: Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, Kaminski


Almost 100 years after the German missionary Bruno Gutmann wrote his biography of the Chagga chief Rindi in German, it is appearing for the first time in Swahili.

The Chagga people allowed Gutmann full access to their culture, which he was fascinated by. He valued the Chagga’s hospitality and openness, living among them for many years and producing a number of works about this experience, as well as about their traditions and everyday life and in particular the legal system in force at the time. In my conversations in Tanzania, I have often heard how vividly and fondly Gutmann is remembered.

For me, it is wonderful and deeply important to see the knowledge that Gutmann accumulated about the Chagga people return to the foot of Kilimanjaro, with the translation and publication of this and other works of his. This knowledge is now available to the Chagga in their language for the first time.

There is a growing awareness in Germany of how vital it is for cultural heritage to return to its places of origin. It is also important to us to engage in joint efforts to reckon with German colonial rule in Tanzania in all of its complexity.

We want to continue down this path. And so I would first and foremost like to thank the contributors from the University of Dar es Salaam, the Kilimanjaro Heritage Society and the twin city partnership Städtepartnerschaft Tübingen-Moshi e.V., as well as everyone else involved, from both Tanzania and Germany – their initiative and voluntary work made this project possible and represent a crucial contribution to reckoning with our shared history. I am delighted that projects such as this are shaping modern-day relations between our two countries.

Dear readers, I hope you enjoy delving into this book!

Katja Keul
Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office
Federal Republic of Germany


This project was only possible thanks to generous funding from the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.

It is organised by the University of Dar es Salaam in cooperation with the Kilimanjaro Heritage Society around Mount Kilimanjaro and the Tübingen – Moshi Partnership Association in Germany.

get in touch

The WACHAGGA PROJECT is a work in progress. Whenever new material has been researched and edited, it will be published here.

You can use the contact form to send us suggestions and criticism, and you can also add your name to a list of people who will be informed as soon as new material is available.

who we are

In Germany, the WACHAGGA PROJECT is mainly supervised and carried out by the following people:

Hartmut Andres
a retired music teacher and member of the Tübingen-Moshi Partnership Association, is the initiator of the project in Germany. His task is research both online and in estates, archives and libraries. He has compiled the material, written texts and provided translations. As project coordinator in Germany, he is responsible for the contact with the German and Tanzanian authorities.

Dr Florian Pommerening
IT specialist at the University of Basel, is supervising the digitisation of Bruno Gutmann’s texts, especially the parts written in Kichagga.

Luis Keppler
ethnomusicologist and web designer, who is also on the board of the Tübingen-Moshi partnership association, designed and maintains the website for the WACHAGGA PROJECT.

gutmann books

here you find the gutmann books and more info about bruno gutmann.


here you find a timeline including the most important dates that our project is dealing with.


here you find a map of the area this project is dealing with.


here you will find an overview of publications on wachagga culture.

get in touch with us

Bitte aktiviere JavaScript in deinem Browser, um dieses Formular fertigzustellen.

want to stay up to date?

you can enter your e-mail address here to sign up for the newsletter about the WACHAGGA PROJECT.

Bitte aktiviere JavaScript in deinem Browser, um dieses Formular fertigzustellen.

You can also write us an e-mail to give us feedback, get in touch or leave a comment!

picture credits

Sammlung Hans Meyer:
Europeana (

Archive of the Leipzig Mission: 
University of Southern California