the wachagga project
about "wachagga project"
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 Kilimanajro, the University of Dar es Salaam library and its online repository. It will also be part of the Imagining Futures online repository.
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.
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The WACHAGGA PROJECT is a work in progress. Whenever new material has been researched and edited, it will be published here.
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