Digitization of Majimaji war memory and memorization
SYNOPSIS AND POSITION
The MajiMaji War forms the main focus of this Lab. In particular the inter-generational memories of colonial violence. Dichotomies of official and unofficial histories will be explored as well as the forms and limits of heroizing – often male centred – in such a multi-faceted conflict. As part of exploring and exposing diverse and divergent narratives, the Lab will address the dynamics of closed and open archives, and the ways in which the material that remains inaccessible speaks through other agencies—in telling the stories of absence. The Tanzania Lab is also about materiality, mediality and digitisation of multiple narratives of the MajiMaji War bottom up, without othering (Rushohora 2019; Silayo 2020). It is listening to voices of 3rd or 4th generation of victims of colonial violence and recording how interaction with sites and the landscape of trauma affect such memories of it. Our institutional local partners, along with community leaders such as Chief Mchekenje in Ndanda and his family, are: The Benedictine Monastery in Ndanda, the Lindi Regional Commissioner’s Office, and the Tanzania National Museum’s MajiMaji Memorial Museum in Songea.
OBJECTIVES AND METHODS
The lab intends to 1) Record and digitize dialogues, which will emerge from listening to stories of colonial violence on visits to sites of memory. A further cross-cultural initiative will use materials developed for and in Baddawi Camp. 2) Layers of history, memory and ruination connect this project with the Labs in Beirut and of Ghana’s coastal-landscapes. Through local voices, audio-visual materials and performance, we will develop methods for reading the past through the use of sites and landscapes of conflict. 3) Co-production of knowledge will be explored with the local community in the creationof a digital resource centre, possibly at SMUC, modelled on the LDRC in Ghana.
ARCHIVING AND UNARCHIVING TOOLS
We will consider an online database hosted between Stellenbosch and the LDRC to increase access across the continent. Self-archiving technology developed by CSM partners will be tested as a documentation strategy from below and as a teaching aid.
Workshops on understanding transgenerational memories will reflect on experiences from Tanzania, Lebanon and South Africa. One at University of Dar es Salaam and another with Office of Historical Trauma & Transformation at Stellenbosch University.
WORKSHOPS AND EVENTS
- Imagining Futures training workshop, 11th/ December 2020
- Distribution of Majimaji book authored by Nancy Rushohora to schools in Lindi and Mtwara regions, September/October 2020
- Archaeological research in Mgao, Mtwara Tanzania, September/October 2020
- Documentation and digitalization of the Majimaji war narratives as part of the Lab
- Documentation of all the known Majimaji war sites
AFFILIATED GROUPS AND ORGANISATIONS
- Chief Mchekenje and family
- Tanzania National Museum’s and Majimaji Memorial Museum in Songea
- Lindi Regional Commissioners Office
- Benedictine Abbey in Ndanda, missionary archive
OTHER CONNECTED PROJECTS AND INITIATIVES
Mgao – Rising from the depths