Kilimanjaro and Meru colonial history research exhibition
Stories of pride.
Stories of community power.
Stories of resistance.
1885 - 1918:
The lands of the Chagga and Meru peoples endured terrible violence and loss during the German colonial period.
This violence resulted in:
Stolen cultural heritage.
To this day, the violence of these acts can be found in German museums.
Our stolen cultural heritage.
Our stolen ancestors.
It is time for Marejesho.
Marejesho is a mobile research exhibition about cultural heritage from Kilimanjaro and Meru region currently in German museums. It will travel across the region to exchange information about this cultural heritage. The focus will be on chiefdoms and communities during the German colonial period. There will be pictures of selected objects as well as historical photographs. The sensitive issue of ancestral remains will also be addressed. Artists will offer a contemporary visual expression of local history. Oral traditions, stories and songs will be shared along with film screenings and talks.
Marejesho is about community knowledge sharing. With the knowledge of what Tanzanian cultural heritage and ancestral remains exists in Germany, we hope the call for restitution and repatriation will grow. At the very least, so our brave ancestors can finally be laid to rest in peace, at home.
Concept, research, curation: Konradin Kunze, Sarita Lydia Mamseri, Mnyaka Sururu Mboro, Gabriel Mzei Orio Visual Arts: Amani Abeid, Cloud Chatanda, Masana Oral history documentation: Malik Saidi Msambaa, Chrispina Chrispin Nazael Architects: Comfort Mosha, Doreen-maria Mwanauta, Mufaddal Nagree (APC Architectural Pioneering Consultants Ltd) Assistance: Alice Harrison Management: Marit Buchmeier, Lisanne Grotz (xplusdrei Produktionsbüro), Gabriel Mzei Orio
A Flinn Works production with Berlin Postkolonial and Old Moshi Cultural Tourism Enterprise in cooperation with bafico and APC in collaboration with Ethnologisches Museum Berlin, Zentralarchiv der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, Staatliche Ethnographischen Sammlungen Sachsen, Linden Museum Stuttgart and TA T / Humboldt University in Berlin.
Funded by TURN2 fund of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes. Funded by Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien. Further funding by between bridges.
Picture: Chrispina Nazael
Background Picture [Modified]: GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig, SKD, Marlene Nagel and Leipzig Mission (Picture Archive).
August 11-14 Keni, Rombo, Kilimanjaro
August 18-21 Marangu, Kilimanjaro
August 25-28 Old Moshi, Kilimanjaro
September 01-04 Kibosho, Kilimanjaro
September 08-11 Machame, Kilimanjaro
September 15-18 Poli, Meru
TA T / Humboldt University in Berlin
"Khalid Salewa had never seen a picture of his great-great-grandfather until September 2022, when a mobile museum winding its way through the mountain’s foothills arrived in his hometown of Moshi, at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The exhibit, called “Marejesho” (the Swahili word for returns), displayed information about German colonial crimes in an open-air pavilion. Residents looked at drawings of cultural objects — necklaces, combs, shields — from their ancestors now held by German museums. They found in the exhibit proof of what they had previously only heard about from parents and grandparents. Berlin did not just have their art but also their bones: thousands of human remains. As a child, Khalid had learned from his mother, Janet, that she was the great-granddaughter of a king who ruled over the Siha area of the Chagga tribe, until he was publicly executed in 1900 for resisting the German occupation, a brutal campaign across East Africa between 1885 and 1919. After his body was left suspended from a tree for public viewing, it disappeared. In Chagga culture, the burial of a body after death is an essential ritual. Without a proper funeral and resting place, the soul cannot find peace. The legacy of not returning an ancestor to his roots meant illness, misfortune and continued suffering for the descendants: For Khalid and Janet, it meant growing up with a permanent absence.When Khalid learned of “Marejesho,” which was organized by Flinn Works, Berlin Postkolonial and the Old Moshi Cultural Tourism Enterprise, he took his family, including Janet, to view the exhibit. [...] “Marejesho,” the traveling exhibition, represents a rethinking of the imperial museum project, a transcontinental collaboration in which communities can glimpse the ancestral objects they cannot travel to view in German institutes. An earlier project by Kunze’s collective Flinn Works, “Mangi Meli Remains,” focuses on the story of Chief Meli, who was hanged and decapitated alongside Ngalami. A video installation that includes historical photos and material about his life was exhibited in Berlin and then in Dar es Salaam before its permanent installation in Old Moshi’s courthouse and as an interactive memorial online. Mboro, a member of Berlin Postkolonial who is also from the Kilimanjaro area, and was instructed by his grandmother to find Meli’s skull when he came to Germany to study, writes that the work of remembrance includes “bringing custodians and source communities together in ceremony, where epistemologies and forms of engaging with the dead might clash, but where greater knowledge on different histories and narratives of the past will emerge, where friendships might even develop.”