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The U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation

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January 5th, 2016

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Last month the Chamwino Arts Center had the honor to submit an application to the American Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP). In their own words,

“The U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) supports the preservation of cultural sites, cultural objects, and forms of traditional cultural expression in more than 100 developing countries around the world. AFCP-supported projects include the restoration of ancient and historic buildings, assessment and conservation of rare manuscripts and museum collections, preservation and protection of important archaeological sites, and the documentation of vanishing traditional craft techniques and indigenous languages. Cultural heritage endures as a reminder of the contributions and historical experiences of humanity. By taking a leading role in efforts to preserve cultural heritage, the U.S. shows its respect for other cultures.” (Call for Proposals, http://eca.state.gov/cultural-heritage-center/ambassadors-fund-cultural-preservation)

With CAC’s focus on preserving the intangible heritage of the Wagogo in Dodoma Region, the focus of our application is forms of traditional cultural expression. The purpose of our proposed project is to actively pursue disappearing genres of Wagogo ngoma and preserve them from two directions: documentation and education.

During the documentation phases of this project, we will methodically seek and verify all existent traces of these genres and conscientiously record what is found. Because by definition, ngoma is not only music and not only dance, our approach is inclusive in that we will do our best to document all aspects of these genres; instrumental sound, voices, movement, attire, stories, etc…while collecting and verifying metadata for each event documented. This will be accomplished through comprehensive field research and audio visual recordings. These recordings will then be archived in the CAC office in Chamwino Ikulu as well as distributed to those participating in the recordings via means best suited to their context; SD cards, VCDs, phone memory, etc…

We also seek to preserve and disseminate indigenous knowledge about these disappearing genres through education. This means finding and bringing ngoma culture bearers to teach this knowledge to ngoma practitioners in places where it perhaps formerly existed, but does not exist currently, as well as bringing students from known arts institutions in other parts of Tanzania for extended periods of study with Wagogo ngoma culture bearers.

If approved and managed well, this project will establish a living audio visual archive of Wagogo ngoma here in Chamwino Ikulu as well as establish within the younger generation of Wagogo ngoma culture bearers the depth and breadth of Wagogo ngoma preserving it onward for generations to come.

The deadline to submit proposals was 4th January 2016, and we will hear a decision about our application on 15th January 2016.

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