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A tour at Dar es Salam's Village Museum

Tourists visiting Dar El Salam's Village Museum in Tanzania.   -  
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Dar El Salam's Village Museum showcases more than 45 houses from Tanzania's 120 tribes.

It mainly aims to ensure that future generations can connect with their roots.

“It's very important for people to visit African places, dance, and inquire about the culture. Know the different types of huts, why they built this, why they built that," Nigerian tour operator Tolu Adesholu says.

Visitors can explore recreated villages, each replicating the lives of a different ethnic group.

The houzi:z serve as artifacts and living demonstrations of the skills and knowledge passed down through generations.

They serve as living demonstrations of the skills and knowledge passed down through generations.

“We have different tribes which are represented at the village museum, a senior curator, at the museum says. 

"We can see types of houses. We have Thembe houses which are rectangular in shape, thatched with soil on top. We have Msonge house which are thatched with grass and we have Banda which have gabled roof which are normally found along the coast,” Wolbert Lema concludes.

Balancing modernization and tradition

Curators at the museum say that as young Africans increasingly embrace non-traditional living, there is a risk of losing elements of their cultural identity.

The curators therefore use various techniques to make African history exciting like blending the village tour with cultural interactive experiences. This includes dances where visitors join in as well. To bring a feel of 17th century Tanzania.

Experts say architecture is an intrisic part of any culture, reflecting the history, beliefs, and values of a society.

The village museum seeks to foster appreciation for the continent's rich heritage.

“Whatever comes from outside is always viewed as good, modern, trendy. And the external pressure is that sometimes the people from outside will come and see our vernacular architecture as backward, dirty, and it does not show modernization. It's not sophisticated in their own way. But I am telling you that vernacular architecture is more sophisticated than modern architecture after studying vernacular architecture for more than 10 years.”

The village museum founders says it is a bridge between the past and the future.

It provides greater understanding of traditional architectural styles while safeguarding them.

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