MaKuYa Traditional Culture and Performing Arts Festival
In 2008 ADEA in Tanzania launched the MaKuYa Traditional Culture and Performing Festival to promote, preserve, and perpetuate the traditional culture and performing arts in the Mtwara region. The MaKuYa Festival includes a broad diversity of dances from across the region with as many as 500 performers from the Makonde, Makua, and Yao tribes. Additionally, our traditional life and culture exhibit explains various aspects of the local life. Also, festival visitors enjoy a variety of traditional games, including dindingi (a spinning top-competitive game), pia (spinning tops), mputa (jumping rope), manati (slingshots), and bow and arrows. ADEA has produced this event in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014. MaKuYa was made possible by generous contributions from the Finnish and Swiss Embassies, BG, Wentworth Africa Fund, Odfjell, Alliance Francaise, and the embassies of the Netherlands, France, and Germany.In 2014 ADEA piloted the MaKuYa Rafiki Rafiki village festival in Nanumbu, Mtwara. This single-day event, hosted by a village dance troupe, included performing groups from within a walking or bike-riding distance of the village. At a negligible cost, this event included more than one thousand rural locals in the festivities of MaKuYa. ADEA hopes to multiply this manifestation of our festival and use it as a draw to promote Early Childhood Learning through activities and educational performances.
Honoring and Preserving the Local Heritage
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 about the rich
Makonde, Makua, and Yao heritages. We see 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.”
Cross-Generational Learning and Sharing
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 we aspire to record histories and memories of the elders
before it is too late.
Our Learning Center, a shame-free play-based open- learning experience
Shaming is a considerable barrier to learning in our communities. Children risk the torments of
other children making fun of them if they make mistakes. Teachers discourage questions for fear
of those themselves cannot answer. With our collection of games, maps, blackboards, and other
learning center activities, children are encouraged and pushed to ask questions freely and
reminded that shaming is not allowed in this space of play, enjoyment, and learning.
Launched in 2019, Jumamosi Poa (JMP), or Cool Saturdays, is a much-anticipated event enjoyed by upwards of 150 children weekly. Encouraging children to think and explore is the goal of the day. Through play, museum conversations, and special guests from the community, children expand the way they view their world and how to understand it.Our cultural collection is honoring local heritage with its artifacts and stories. Our efforts are bringing pride and dignity to a population, whose heritage and traditional ways were undervalued by colonizing powers, and who were shamed and discourage during 1960s and 1970s socialist years when Tanzanians were pressured to believe that modernization and “new ways” was the key to strong development. Our current “Kuijua Jiografia” (Knowing Geography) activities is pairing local knowledge and passion for world Football/Soccer with maps of the world as we follow the matches leading up to the June 2018 World Cup matches in Russia. 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