Tanzanian Heritage, Sites, and Museums

Thursday 7 December

Embark on a journey through the Swahili Coast’s vibrant history and cultural preservation. Save the date for an enlightening conversation!


Following the success of our exhibition Black Monuments Matter in 2020, the Aga Khan University, Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations is proud to announce a public talk on Tanzanian Heritage, Sites, and Museums: pilot projects on the Swahili Coast: Zanzibar, Kilwa and Mafia Islands. This event coincides with the celebration of the opening of a new site museum in Tanzania on the Island of Mafia.This event coincides with the celebration of the opening of a new site museum in Tanzania on the Island of Mafia.

Join us as we delve into African cultures and heritage. The speakers will present Africa’s contribution to world history by exhibiting World Heritage Monuments, Museums, and architectural treasures from Tanzania. Sites and monuments are physical representations of history, heritage, and development in society. But art, architecture, sites, and monuments are more than material culture, they are an integral part of our social environment, past and present.

Our event aims to show the diversity and richness of Tanzanian cultures as part of world history through the study and conservation of African monuments, bringing awareness and pride of African roots and contributions to other cultures. During the evening, we will explore how various groups and identities shaped the Swahili culture. We hope to contribute to both awareness of Swahili identity and African heritage by making them visible, assessable, and known to as many people as possible.

Facing poverty, social challenges, and economic crisis, but also climate challenges with global warming and coastal erosion, the speakers will address the multifaceted challenges faced by Tanzanian national authorities and international NGOs to protect, restore, and promote Swahili sites. Experts will discuss tourism-heritage links and business strategies, stakeholder engagement, cultural heritage/museum management, changing heritage narratives in tourism discourse, and cultural sustainability, and what people think and feel about these conservation projects, from local communities to intellectuals and scholars.

At the Aga Khan University, we recognise and promote the work of national and international organisations committed to the support of African heritage. We believe in the importance of education for the understanding and appreciation of world cultures. The African sites and monuments presented during the evening are protected by UNESCO and have been given world heritage status. These sites are protected and supported by Tanzanian authorities and international NGOs such as the World Monument Fund and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.


  • 17:30–17:40 | Stephane Pradines: Welcome and introduction of speakers.
  • 17:40–18:10 | Noel Lwoga: Tanzanian Heritage and Culture
  • 18:10–18:25 | Revocatus Bugumba: Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara
  • 18:25–18:40 | Abel Albert: Kua, Mafia Island
  • 18:40–19:00 | Stephane Pradines: AKTC & AKU in Tanzania.
  • 19:00–19:30 | Discussion with audience.
  • 19:30–20:30 | Drinks and nibbles.
  • 21:00| End of programme.


  • Dr. Noel Lwoga: Director General of the National Museum of Tanzania, Senior Lecturer at UDSM, Tourism/Heritage Specialist, researching tourism and stakeholder engagement in heritage conservation, leveraging heritage values for sustainability; heritage representation.
  • Revocatus Bugumba: Director, Monuments and Sites , National Museum of Tanzania, archaeologist, Heritage management, community engagement, strategic planning in heritage, communication, and built heritage conservation.
  • Albert Abel: Heritage Conservation Architect |Technical Monument Consultant NMT, Site Architect at Ancient Swahili Town of Kua Archaeological site, Juani Mafia World Monument Fund
  • Stephane Pradines: Archaeologist and Professor at the AKU-ISMC, researching Indian Ocean trading networks, Islamisation in East Africa and Muslim Material Cultures of War in Egypt and Pakistan.

Join us for an enlightening discussion on the intersection of African monuments, Muslim world, and Indian Ocean cultures. Together, let’s explore world heritage sites and vibrant African cultures.

This event is operating under the Chatham House Rule. Discussions at the event are to be kept confidential, and participants are free to use the information shared but not attribute it to specific individuals or organisations.

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