Student name: Ms Chiku Said
Dissertation title: "Local People’s Perceptions and Valorisation of Cultural Heritage Sites at Chongoleani Peninsular, Northern Coast of Tanzania"
Most African scholars and practitioners of cultural heritage perceive and conceptualize heritage based on criteria and variables established in the North. These criteria include scale, visibility, permanence, centrality and ubiquity. Because many of these scholars were trained in European and North American education systems, they always skew towards ‘northern thinking’. They consequently fail to understand what really constitutes cultural heritage in the African local contexts. Thus, they cannot effectively influence informed decision-making at the policy level on the cultural heritage requiring protection in the interests of local communities and the nation at large.
The respective African governments have therefore narrowly conceptualised cultural heritage to mostly mean observable tangible sites such as ‘monuments’ and/or ‘protected areas, which they prioritise using the criteria and perceptions that are alien to the local communities. Consequently, local people offer little support to protect cultural heritage sites the government gazette. The current study conducted at Chongoleani Peninsular along the northern coast of Tanzania provides an example of the above stated existing situation.