This blog post details an experience of a heritage walkabout for a radio show by the 'Heritage Team', a major component of the CONCH project led by Dr Sara Perry, her students and other collborators, including Pangani FM. You can see more of their activties on our Instagram page. 3 different named authors--Hadija Kimaro, Matty Rowland & L.Meghan Dennis--have contributed to this blog in both English and Swahili.
Standing on a hot, dusty street in the middle of the day in Pangani, Tanzania, we were about to be on the radio for the first time. As the noon-day sun beat down, we looked up at a century-old building and the three of us, a Tanzanian undergraduate student from the University of Dar es Salaam, and a Welsh Master’s student and American doctoral student from the University of York, wondered what we had gotten ourselves into, and if it was going to work out.
Mazungumzo kuhusiana na historia ya majengo yalifanyika kupitia kituo cha radio Pangani FM ili kujua shughuli mbalimbali zilizofanyika wakati huo kwenye majengo mbalimbali ya kihostoria ili kujua thamani yake kihistoria, kiuchumi na kijamii.
The radio programme aimed to recruit a mix of people into dialogue, using Pangarithi’s official documentary and archaeological record as the launching pad for conversation, moving from there into locals’ reflections on the site and the unofficial histories that are less told, and concluding with a buildings archaeologist’s perspective which sought to encourage reflection on how we might ask new questions in the future about these buildings.
Hadija Kimaro, University of Dar es Salaam, Undergraduate Student
Nilifanya mahojiano na mwenyekiti wa Kijiji kuhusiana na jumba lilokua likitumika kuonyeshea sinema miaka ya 1950, na kuacha shughuli zake miaka ya 1980, na kwanini jengo hilo halijafanyiwa uhifadhi na limebeba historia ya pangani na
Aliongelea kuhusiana na kukosekana na wataalamu wa uhifadhi wa majengo haya ya kihistoria.
Aliongelea kuhusiana na serikali pamoja na vyombo vya habari kama TBC kufanya mahojiano lakini hakuna utekelezaji wowote ulofanyika.
Kukosekana kwa wafadhili.
Miradi inayoazishwa haitatutui changamoto za majengo hayo.
Wito kwa serikali na wananchi kwa ujumla.
Serikali ya Tanzania inapasa kuleta wataalamu watakao husika na uhifadhi wa majengo haya kwa ujumla kwa maana yamebeba historia ya pangani.
Wageni mbalimbali wanapokuja kufanya miradi yao iwe na manufaa katika kuyatunza majengo haya ya kale.
Anasisitiza kwa wananchi wazidi kuyatunza majengo hayo.
Nilifurahi sana kufanya mahojiano hayo nilijifunza mengi kupitia historia ya pangani na pia nilipata ujuzi mpya katika mradi wa CONCH.
Matty Rowland, University of York, Master’s Student
To create the radio show in two days, we first had to decide, in collaboration with our local partners, which buildings to include in a town we were learning about for the first time as part of the CONCH Project. By the next day, we had to have drastically improved our knowledge of Pangani. We compiled a short list of buildings based on the displays at the Pangarithi before walking around to see what looked suitable to speak about, and how they would fit into our radio tour. Four buildings were decided upon: the Pangarithi, the CCM 1910 building, the Pangani Industries building, and the Regal Cinema. These stand today as the heritage centre, a local house, a derelict building, and a mechanic’s shop, respectively. One member of the team chose one building to research by using the wide variety of documents and images available to us. From this, we created a brief narrative of the buildings’ history to introduce it and wrote some questions which could be used by the interviewer to prompt insightful responses from community members who would join us on the show, including the Pangarithi’s supervisor, a local resident and the village chairperson. After that, buildings archaeologist Dr. Dav Smith provided his insight on the potential for the built heritage record to further elaborate our understanding of these places.
L. Meghan Dennis, University of York, Doctoral Student
Working in a foreign country can lead to a lot of issues. On the day of the radio program, one of my tasks was to sit in on an interview about the Regal Cinema building. I’ve done a lot of interviews in my work, but never where I couldn’t speak the language! Because my Swahili is very, very limited (I’m still learning!), I contributed by helping with background research and interview questions, but couldn’t actually speak in the interview. Instead, I watched body language to see if the interview seemed like it was going well – were the interviewer and the interviewee leaning towards one another? Was anyone crossing their arms? Did they look engaged? Frustrated? Happy? Angry? Luckily, it went well!
By the end of the day, we had held six interview sessions and recorded conversations about four buildings and heritage spaces in Pangani. We worked with local leaders, citizens of Pangani, and representatives from Uzikwasa, one of our partners in the CONCH Project, all hand-in-hand with Pangani FM. It was a whirlwind of research, writing, and recording, but resulted in a radio show that highlighted Pangani’s past and present, as well as its hopes for the future, and left us all asking…when do we get to be on the radio again!