12 Chiefs with the Same Face: A Formal Analysis of the Maji Maji War Heroes’ Statues

Dominicus Zimanimoto Makukula


Abstract This research addresses artistic ineptitude in historical preservation through public art. Its main objective is to argue for exceptional artistry and proper regulation of public art created for national historical preservation and promotion. Besides, this study investigates procedures followed before the creation and installation of public artwork(s) intended to preserve and promote national history in Tanzania. During the study, interviews, questionnaires, and observation methods were used to collect data. Meanwhile, the Formalism Theory informed data analysis and presentation. The findings show that all the 12 Busts installed at the Maji Maji Memorial Museum in the Songea district were ineptly designed and created. In fact, they were neither vetted by experts nor regulated before and after installation at the site. This oversight has resulted in substandard artworks, which constitute a travesty to the projection of the Maji Maji war heroes’ history while undermining the value of these busts in preserving and promoting the visual history of early anti-colonial struggles in the East African country. Moreover, these apparent artistic flaws have reduced the busts’ aesthetics value, thus generating low government, public interest, comprehension, and appreciation of the visual arts in facilitating effective conservation and promotion of national history and heritage. Thus, there is an urgent need for policymakers to consider viable and plausible artistic approaches to national history and cultural heritage conservation and promotion projects nationally and internationally in addition to enhancing local and international audiences for wider benefits.


Keywords Art, Lawrence Mtazama Gama, Maji Maji, Mashujaa, Songea, Wangoni https://dx.doi.org/10.56279/ummaj.v9i1.3

Full Text:




Bawazir, O. 1980, UHURU (Gazeti, 7 Julai 1980), “Uzinduzi wa

Makumbusho ya Maji” …pg.1, Dar es Salaam, Mpigachapa wa Serikali

Beaumont, S. 2018, Photographic and prophetic truth: Daguerreotypes, the

Holy Land, and the Bible According to Reverend Alexander Keith, in

History of Photography, vol. 42, no. 4


on February 13, 2022, at UDSM New Library.

Editor 2019. Alichokisema Dkt. Kigwangalla Kuhusu Sanamu ya Nyerere”,

Mwananchi Newspaper, Wednesday, July 10, Dar es Salaam, Mwananchi


Enock, D. 2011, The stylistic evolution of modern Makonde sculpture in

Tanzania, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam

Fagg, B. 1990, Nok Terracottas, Ethnographica Ltd., London and the

National Commission for Museums & Monuments, Nigeria.

Fülleborn, F. 1906, Das deutsche Njassa- und Ruwuma-gebiet, land und

leute, nebst bemerkungen über die Schire-Länder. : Mit benutzung von

ergebnissen der Njassa- und Kingagebirgs-expedition der Hermann und

Elise geb, Heckmann Wentzel-Stiftung, Berlin.

Fried, M. 2001, Roger Fry’s formalism Roger, The Tanner Lectures on

Human Values, University of Michigan, November 2 and 3,

Fry, R. (1925) Mr. Frank Dobson's sculpture, the Burlington magazine for

connoisseurs, vol. 46, no. 265, pp. 170-173+176-177, (PUB) Burlington

Magazine Publications Ltd.

Gwassa, G.C.K. (1969) ‘African Methods of Warfare during Maji Maji War

–1907’, Social Science Council of the University of East Africa 1: 256–

Gwassa, G.C.K. 1969, German intervention and African resistance in

Tanzania, in Kimambo and A.J. Temu (eds.), A history of Tanzania, East

African Publishing House, Nairobi.

Hodd, M. 2002, East Africa handbook, footprint fravels Guides, McGraw-Hill,

New York.

Hussein, E. 1969, Kinjeketile, Oxford University Press, Nairobi.

Kirey, R.E. 2021, Decolonizing German colonial sites in Dar es Salaam: Tthe

case of Hermann von Wissmann and the Askari Monument,

Zeitgeschischte Online. Retrieved from: https://zeitgeschichteonline.de/geschichtskultur/decolonizing-german-colonial-sites-dar-essalaam, on 26th April 2022

Le Gall, Y. and Mboro, M.S. 2019, Remembering the dismembered African

human remains and memory cultures in and after repatriation. PhD. Thesis:

https://doi.org/10.25932/publishup-50850, University of Potsdam,


Lentz, C. 2017, Ghanaian monument wars, cahiers d'études Africaines, Vol.

, Cahier 227 (3), Renouveau monumental, pp. 551-582, EHESS. Retrieved

from: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/26613054, on 15 April, 2022

at the New Library, UDSM

Lwoga, N.B. 2013, Tourism development in Tanzania before and after

independence: sustainability perspectives, Eastern African Journal of

Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism, vol. 1 no. 2. Retrieved from:



ectives, on 3rd December 2021 at SJMC/UDSM, Tanzania

Makukula, D.Z. 2019, The development of visual arts in Tanzania from

to 2015: A focus on the national cultural policy and institutions

Dominicus Zimanimoto Makukula

UMMA, Volume 9 (1), 2022

influences, Ph.D. Thesis. http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/refubium-4095 Freie

Universität Berlin, Germany.

Miller, J.D. 1975, Art in East Africa: A guide to contemporary art, Frederick

Muller Ltd, >London.

Mapunda, M.A. 2006, Management plan of Maji Maji memorial museumSongea, a dissertation for Diploma in Heritage Management and Tour

Guide, University of Dar es Salaam, Department of Archaeology and

Heritage Studies, Dar es Salaam.

Matj, L. 2013, Mandela statue unveiled to celebrate the day of reconciliation,

Tshwane Update, p. 1, December edition.

Milano 2015, Media statement: the Nelson Mandela statue inaugurated City

of Milan and South African government together to celebrate the

Diplomacy of Ubuntu, Press Release retrieved from:


ation.pdf on 6th December 2021 at SJMC/UDSM in Tanzania

Nickel, L. 2013, The first emperor and sculpture in China, Bulletin of SOAS,

vol. 76, no. 3, pp. 413-447, School of Oriental and African Studies, University

of London.

Pruitt, J. 2013, INSPIRED: three decades of Tanzanian art 1972-1993, Vijana

Vipaji Foundation, Dar es Salaam.

Rushohora, N. and Kurmann, E. 2018, Look at Maji Maji! A plea for

historical photographs in Tanzania, African Studies, vol. 77, no. 1, pp. 87-104.

A copy was supplied to the researcher by the authors on October 2021

Senie, H. and Webster, S. 1989, Critical issues in public art, Art Journal, Vol.

, no. 4, pp. 287-290, CAA with jstor, retrieved from:

https://www.jstor.org/stable/777010 on 14 April 2022 at New Library,


Soetan, S.O., and Osadola, O. 2018, Historic preservation: prospects and

challenges, International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science

(IJRISS), vol. II, no. V., pp.53-56 Retrieved from:


Suh, Y. 2013, Past looking: Using arts as historical evidence in teaching

history, Social Studies Research, and Practice, vol. 8 no. 1. Retrieved from:

https://www.socstrpr.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/MS_06372_Spring2013.pdf on 6th December

at the SJMC/UDSM Tanzania

Upcott, L.E. 1899, Introduction to Greek sculpture, University of Oxford,

Henry Frawde, M.A.

URT 2007, Taarifa ya Ukaguzi wa Minara na Sanamu Mkoani Mwanza,

Shinyanga, Mara, Zanzibar na Pemba, Ukur. 1-15 Maktaba, Wizara ya

Utumishi wa Umma, Dar es Salaam

URT 2009, The handing-over document of the Maji Maji museum and

memorandum of understanding between the National Museum of

Tanzania, Regional Administration and the Ruvuma Elder’s Council on 8th December.


  • There are currently no refbacks.