Safeguarding practices for intangible cultural heritage in Tanzania: national vs local perspectives

Bigambo, Richard (2020). Safeguarding practices for intangible cultural heritage in Tanzania: national vs local perspectives. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Recent decades have seen a growing interest by individuals, government, and international organisations to safeguard Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). Such efforts arose from the perceived impact of globalisation and modernisation towards this form of heritage among different communities in the world. Most of the previous research has focused on why ICH is in danger and ways that can be used to remedy the situation. Few efforts have been directed towards understanding how the local community ‘cultural practitioners’ have traditionally been safeguarding their ICH, and how such knowledge can be integrated into the present-day safeguarding initiatives. Thus, this study sought to explore how the Jita have safeguarded their traditional ceremonies and rituals (as one category of ICH) and how such information can be used in solving the challenges facing the safeguarding initiatives at the national level in Tanzania.

Data for this study was collected through observations, interviews, and documentary reviews. A total of 123 respondents were interviewed from the Antiquities Department, National Museum and House of cultural, Village Museum and Arts and culture Departments, and the Jita community in Tanzania. In general, there are different challenges that affect the safeguarding efforts at both local and national level. The study demonstrates that in order to implement an effective safeguarding practice of ICH in Tanzania, there is a need to integrate the safeguarding practices at the two levels. Such an integration should seek to use the best attributes present at each level. This act will not only improve the means used in safeguarding ICH but will also ensure active involvement of the community in the safeguarding process. Further, I argue in this study that the definition of ICH should move beyond the UNESCO discourse to include everyday practices that are valued by a community and can be used as means of identity. Also, the safeguarding of ICH should be a community-based initiative in which the cultural bearers and their safeguarding knowledge take the leading role.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage
Funders: Other
Other Funders: Commonwealth Scholarship Commission
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)


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