Welcome to the MaKuYa Culture Museum and Learning Center. This museum is an educational project under the larger umbrella of ADEA (African Development through Economics Education and the Arts) a registered 501(c)(3). In income strapped countries such as Tanzania public and government support is very limited. ADEA & the MaKuYa museum depend on the contribution of individuals and organizations to keep our doors open. Please join with us to provide opportunities for this community to enjoy the fun of learning and discovery and the celebration their local culture.
Due to colonial and post-independence attitudes, under-appreciation for local culture is sadly familiar. We are reversing that view by prominently displaying and educating on the rich Makonde, Makua, and Yao heritage. Seeing elders beaming with pride when they share their stories about the artifacts they find displayed. It is not uncommon to hear people say, “I didn’t think our culture was worth preserving. I must go home and tell people to stop throwing our elders things away.”
With no funding for classroom visual aids the MaKuYa Museum provides artifacts, maps, activities, and games to enhance learning for students and all visitors. Unlike most classrooms, we are all about engagement, asking questions and being asked questions. if we don’t know the answer, we try to find out
Formal education for young people has separated them from the stories and histories of their grandparents and culture. Most of their elders’ memories remain undocumented. We invite elders to share with the youth, and aspire to record their histories and memories before it is too late.
For these reasons and more we are seeking support to keep our efforts going.
We have a large collection of artifacts representing the various aspects of life at home or in the community. These items play a part in dress, cooking, farming, hunting, fishing as well as births, marriages and death.
Music, dance, games and entertainment play a big roll in the traditional Makonde and Makua lives. We have a growing collection of games and instruments for our visitors to see, hear and even play.
With the help of village elders we have amassed a collection of native foods, herbs and seeds found in the region. As well we explain through a “Yalitoka wapi?” “Where did it come from?” challenge to understand the introduction of non-native foods to Africa.
The Makonde people have a long tradition of carving, initially for the production of masks for performance. Contemporary carving grew from the wishes of foreign visitors which began centuries ago with Arabs and Portuguese using ivory and African Blackwood. These include a variety of figures, statues and useful objects.
Images taken from a 1908 expedition through the Mtwara region provide an invaluable opportunity for younger Tanzanians to see the famed traditions of face scaring, teeth filing, and lip piercing in the Mtwara region. Memories of these traditions are still represented in dance and art forms.
In the Discovery Center we explore things connected to local and familiar realities: Reading maps, understanding natural phenomenon such as the moon, sun or a rainbow, the earth rotation, sea life and more.
The MaKuYa Traditional Culture and Performing Arts Festival was launched by ADEA in 2008 for the preservation, promotion and perpetuation of the traditional performing arts in the Mtwara region of Tanzania. This three-day event celebrates the diversity of dancing and drumming traditions found throughout the region. As well, visitors learned of the local heritage in our traditional culture exhibit. Additionally they enjoyed playing a variety of traditional games set up on the festival grounds. ADEA produced this event in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014
As the peoples of southeastern Tanzania did not traditionally keep cattle; hunting, trapping and fishing were an essential part of their lives. Fishermen in the coastal regions made traps and small dugout boats (mtumbwi) for fishing, while people living inland developed fishing traps for the rivers, and cleaver contraptions for catching wild animals as small as rats and birds to as large as elephants (though not the latter to much these days).
The use of audio devises has made our exhibits more accessible to a largely functionally-illiterate population. Not only can they hear commentary on the objects, they can also hear the sound of musical instruments and interviews with elders about museum content. Additionally, there are a few quizzes for more interactive learning. Some visitors appreciate that they can move through the exhibit quickly. Other, more timid visitors (often elders) appreciate that they can explore the museum on their own without the guide. It is not uncommon for us to begin a tour with the audio devises, and then augment the experience with a guided tour when time allows. GUIDE-ID of the Netherlands has generously agreed to let us continue to use their audio equipment without charge.