A Paradigm shift
In December 2016, the Minister of Lands traveled to Hadza country in the Lake Eyasi basin to personally issue 12 communal land titles to Hadza hunter-gatherers and Datoga pastoralists. We had mentioned in our previous newsletter that we were expecting and hoping that this would happen.
For the Minister himself to present these titles was hugely significant because it represented a departure from previous Government policy and politics in that it recognized: a) the special status of cultures that were different from mainstream Tanzanian society and; b) the importance of tracts of communally used and managed land for these cultures and their livelihoods.
Someone who has known the Hadza for a long time and knows our work well recently mentioned that he felt that the tireless, committed and persistent work of UCRT has led to a significant paradigm shift with regards to how the Hadza are perceived in Tanzania. From being seen as an embarrassment to a modernizing nation they are now appreciated as a valuable part of the cultural heritage of the nation, and deserving of support and preservation.
Given the land and population pressures in the Mangola area of Lake Eyasi, these tracts of communal title are not large but are essential for the integrity of Hadza and Datoga economies and cultures and provide critical pieces of the puzzle that will link the larger previously existing Hadza title to the south with Ngorongoro Conservation area – they are part of a ‘dreamed for wildlife corridor’ by the Hadza. Our hats go off to the UCRT (Ujamaa Community Resource Team) team of Dismas Partalala, Julius Mando and their crew for their extreme dedication and patience that has paid off for the Hadza, Datoga and wildlife. And of course without your generous support, none of this would have been possible – thank you, thank you, thank you.
Here is a brief re-cap of what Minister William Lukuvi said in his speech:
· While ordinarily he would not be present for the handing over of village land titles and CCROs, he decided to be here for two reasons: to show his respect and gratitude for the amazing work of UCRT; and to be present when special people like the Hadza got their land rights
· Emphasizing the importance of wildlife corridors, his biggest concern of the day was the Hadza, their survival and ascertaining that they had land where eventually the wildlife situation would recover and they could hunt their beloved baboons and other wildlife again
· He said that when he returned in a few years, he did not want to hear that even one acre of the Hadza land had been disturbed. He singled out the Barabaig, calling them clever people who liked to intrude in other people's land and warning them that they had their own area and should stick to it
· He cautioned District officials to ensure that all land rights were respected. While handing over the papers to the Q'angdend Hadza, they complained to him publicly that some people had intruded already. He immediately and publicly ordered the District Executive Director to check on that and ensure that the intruders were evicted
· He once again commended UCRT for their excellent work and assistance, encouraging them to continue with their important work and get land titles for the Hadza in other areas/districts