South Sudan Arts Center receives cultural preservation grant to archive songs

Likikiri Collective, based in South Sudan’s capital Juba, has been awarded £98,000 ($125,000) to support its music project titled Storytelling as Conservation: Preserving the Cultural Heritage of South Sudanese Women in Refugee Contexts in Uganda and Kenya.

The scheme is one of 22 projects in 10 countries supported by a £2m fund aimed at protecting cultural heritage at risk from conflict and/or climate change. These programs are being implemented in Syria, Iraq, Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Uganda, Tanzania, Pakistan and Nepal.

Likikiri Collective’s project draws on the cultural knowledge of South Sudanese communities displaced to Uganda and Kenya by conflict and climate change to resurrect songs that carry messages that are at risk of being lost.

Through the Likigiri Heritage Lab, young women from four communities – Kakwa and Awokaya in Uganda and Dinka and Nuer in Kenya – will become “age-caregivers through the production of multimedia archives.” Storytellers, scribes and custodians of women’s songs”.

“These young women will identify, explore, curate and preserve 400 songs from five moments in life – childhood (lullabies, birth and naming songs), adolescence (initiation songs), wedding songs, work songs and funeral and mourning songs, ” said Likikiri Collective.

Likikiri runs the project in partnership with the British Library Sound Archive, the School of Oriental and African Studies in the Department of Music, University of London, the Institute of East African Studies in the UK, Arua Community Development Center in Uganda and SheLeads Kakuma in Kenya.

Partner organizations will share documentation, archival and media production skills and knowledge with participants, enabling women to preserve their cultural heritage for future generations.

“The impact of years of war and communal conflict has been exacerbated by the occurrence of climate disasters such as floods and droughts, forcing many South Sudanese to seek refuge in neighboring countries,” the British Council said. “The resulting displacement and adaptation to new environments disrupts “

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