Saturday, June 22, 2013

''UJAMAA" Makonde Ebony Carving

Hi, today i want to talk about an ebony carving called "Ujamaa", some people refer to it as the "Family Tree".
First of all what is "Ujamaa"? It is a Swahili word which means extended family or family hood. I prefer to refer to it as communal living.
Makonde Ebony carvers just like artist, they communicate or tell a story through what they are carving.
Now as we look at the "Ujamaa" carving it tells us about village life and the various activities performed by the villagers.
On the onset of Arusha Declaration Policy in Tanzania early 1967, Makonde carvers started to carve carvings which will motivate people to live in the village so as to go along with the Government
policy. Likewise musician, Poets, performers and so forth. The joint efforts in conjunction with the Government bear ed fruits, villages were established.




Ujamaa Ebony carving

Now as we look at the carving we see many people entwined together. Here the carver want to tell us that these people are united, there is peace, work together, live harmoniously together (people from various tribe, ethics and religion) in the same area (village), speak a common language (Swahili), love one another, they are all equal(no gender issues), They are Organized and so forth. By looking at it you can add many more additions.
And if we look closely, we will see each individual holding something on his / her hand and carrying  something on the head. These reflects the various activities performed in the village. For instance on the carving we can see a man holding an axe, it implies he is going to chop logs for firewood or cut a log for carving work. Here he is seen as an individual, but in reality, a day is set aside where all men in the village perform this activity collectively, likewise other activities.
So from the carving you can be able to depict the life style of the Makonde people, in those days. So an Ujamaa carving is History which is in perpetual growth.
We have  stock of Ujamaa carvings in our shop, Sanaa Zetu. You are most welcome. customer satisfaction is our motto.