By Nancy Rushohora, Odetha Kamuhabwa, Joshua Kahigi, Baraka Galiatano, and Frank Mbago | 12 August 2022
Farming for crafting is a project that aims at documenting and digitizing the endangered knowledge system of farming and crafting of organic utensils namely gourds, straws, and dugout wooden trough/canoe among the Haya people of Kagera region, north western Tanzania. The project will visually and orally document the knowledge of plants used for crafting, farming conditions, crafting technology and the physical and/ chemical composition of the plants that allows its usage. This project is both timely and relevant because the cheaply available plastic utensils have replaced the organic ones while leaving farming for craft technology in the hands of few. Possession and use of organic utensils is a cultural obligation of the Haya that overrule all cultural ceremonies such as births, deaths and weddings. This cultural significance accounts for the persistence of organic utensils among the Haya despite the challenges of increased usage of plastic utensils, changes in the composition of home-gardens from subsistence to commerce, population increase and climate change.
Farming for crafting is a means to safeguard the farming and crafting knowledge system as a form of heritage endangered by modernisation. The project will thus serve as a preservation of the indigenous knowledge system for posterity and enhance the interpretation of African organic crafts collections found in museums in Africa and beyond.
Location of Research:
Kamachumu, Kagera Region, Northwest Tanzania
University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Top Banner Image: Newly harvested gourds (Photo: Nancy Rushohora)