The following was written almost a year ago in a peaceful park full of straw hut sculptures in Dar-es-Salaam. I was planning to pursue the sketchy observations with a more academic pursuit of how widespread the concept of straw hut museums is, and to compare it with the beloved wood hut museums in my own country, Norway. The academic analysis of the practice of collecting traditional huts in open air museums has, however, yet to happen. I the meantime I pass on the first impressions from the Village Museum in Dar with the wonderful elephant grass hut installations.
Behind the “The Mosque of the Comorians” in the middle of Litine, is a house which is striking in its elaborate window sills and facade design. It conveys the curious feeling you have to get used to in Ilha, of a house displaying the shell of a dried out plaster cast with no inside and full of cracks, because the substances which should be giving it life, have vanished. Inside, however, a big family is living and trying to keep the walls together and a roof over their head, but the life which is being lived, is something completely different from what once created the house. Inside the old walls, a new house of cement blocks is also growing, replacing the old one as it slowly collapses. Continue reading
1. The Ruin
One of the first houses you notice when you pass through the bairro of Areal in Ilha de Moçambique, whether you are walking by foot inside the bairro or driving on the street dividing Areal and Litine, is a quite remarkable ruin of an old house still partly covered by terracotta roof tiles, hovering above the rest of the corrugated iron or macuti roofs.
We have gone to visit coconut plantations in Sanculo and Cabaceira where the macuti roofing tiles are made. Bounamate Surviro lives with his seven wives on the plantation in Mussengere, Sanculo and sells the macuti in Ilha. Continue reading
As mentioned briefly in the entry about the FRELIMO office in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania was host to the liberation movements from many of the neighbouring countries not yet independent in the 1960s. In fact, heritage sites of the liberation struggle of especially ANC from South Africa, have been documented in a project by the Tanzanian Division of Antiquities, part of which was published in 2010. Continue reading
During my stay in Ilha I am working with the Conservation Office improve heritage management in the 7 bairros making up the “macuti town”. There is currently quite a lot of confustion as to how to treat this part of the World Heritage site. In order to proceed with recommendations, I have bought a flip chart, pens in different colours and decided to conduct small workshops and public meetings in “the community” in order to understand different points of view with regards to the heritage value of the macuti houses. Continue reading