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nl02-07.jpg (29286 bytes)Makonde Tree of Life sculpture courtesy of the Ethnographic Museum at the University of Oslo, Norway.

The best known artists are the Makonde of Tanzania. This group, which originated in highland areas south of Tanzania migrated north at the turn of the century and has now established artist co-operatives in Dar es Salaam and other major cities in Tanzania.

Makonde work is of three different styles, reflecting different African social and spiritual values. Binadamu work depicts men and women pursuing traditional societal roles and tasks. Ujamaa carvings are patterned on the important east African political idea of Unity and usually depict numerous groups of figures, intertwined and interlocked in highly dynamic designs. Shetani sculptures reflect Makonde mythological and spiritual ideas, depicting religious beings, nature spirits and unseen creatures of the night in a highly modernistic sculptural style. Makonde art is purchased by private collectors and museums throughout the world.

The Zaramo carvers, from the Uzaramo area of Tanzania, work in a variety of styles, depicting their social and religious institutions. During the 1930’s they were influenced by missionaries to carve for sale outside of their own society and they became widely known for their expertise. Their work inspired the Kamba woodcarvers from Kenya to establish carving groups which became highly successful commercially.

The booming tourist trade of eastern Africa has resulted in a high demand for African carvings, but has put an unfortunately intense demand on mpingo. The tree in now commercially extinct in Kenya and carvers there are importing wood for their art. Carvers in Tanzania are having increasing trouble in finding sources of the wood for their use.

Earth Day at the US Embassy

On April 22, in celebration of Earth Day, the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam held a panel discussion focusing on sustainable development. Sebastian was invited to attend and delivered a presentation on “The Relationship between Sustainable Development, Community-Based Education and Tree planting in Northern Tanzania.”

The first Earth Day was organized in the US on April 22, 1970. On that day 20 million US citizens gathered together for one of the most spectacular environmental demonstrations in history, bringing conservation into the forefront of the national and world consciousness.

 

"God has cared for
these trees, saved them
from drought, disease, avalanches and a
thousand tempests
and floods. But he cannot save them from fools."

John Muir

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Moshi District Commissioner Ole Milia, as guest of honor at Kibosho East Environmental Day Ceremonies is planting a tree.

COMPACT

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the United Nations Foundation (UNF) has launched an initiative called the Community Management of Protected Areas Conservation Project (COMPACT), aimed at “increasing the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation at World Heritage sites and globally significant coral reefs.”

In September 2001, communities on Mt. Kilimanjaro were designated to receive funding under this program. The main aim of the initiative is to protect the mountain’s resources by helping to improve the livelihoods of the people who live on and near the mountain, working with them in setting up sustainable programs for the use of natural resources.

Support of up to $50,000 will be provided for 5 - 15 community-based activities on Kilimanjaro.

 

Since Sebastian has been so active in community-based activism on Kilimanjaro, he has been invited by COMPACT organizers to help them in initiating this action and introducing the project to community leaders in areas where natural resources are most heavily used.

At least 20,000 people are expected to benefit directly from COMPACT activities and 200,000 people indirectly.

COMPACT is also launching intiatives to conserve natural sites in Kenya, The Dominican Republic, Belize, Mexico and the Philippines.

International Year of Mountains

2002 has been declared by the UN as the International Year of the Mountains (IYM). Countries around the world are sponsoring conferences and various celebrations in order to give focus to the special needs and importance of mountains and mountain communities.

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ABCP Website maintained by James E. Harris, 2000.
Last revised 21 Apr 2008.