2006-2009: Japan finances the project "Safeguarding the Chopi Timbila Tradition in Mozambique"


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UNESCO has started to implement the Project entitled “ Safeguarding the Chopi Timbila Tradition in Mozambique ” . This traditional cultural expression was proclaimed Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005.


This Project is financed under the UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust for the Preservation and Promotion of the Intangible Cultural Heritage .


Context and Objectives of the project:


The Chopi are one of Mozambique 's smaller ethno-linguistic groups and live in the southern part of the country.


Timbila is the name of a music instrument, a kind of xylophone, and the music made on it. The making of this instrument is complex and needs several materials and a high level of craftsmanship. Timbila produces a unique nasalizing sound with typical variations, there are various sizes and ranges of pitch. The timbila orchestras, from five to thirty timbila, are accompanied by dancers.


Today, the vitality of Timbila is threatened by the absence of young instrument makers, the old age of most practitioners as well as the lack of performance opportunities. Deforestation has also caused the scarcity of the mwenje tree, the basic material of timbila.

T he objectives of this twenty-four-month Project (November 2006 – November 2008) are to strengthen the transmission process, create performance and exchange opportunities and enhance the legal protection of the Timbila instruments and music.



Activities foreseen


The project will involve local communities. Its activities include:

- Training and meetings among Timbila practitioners

- Creation of performance opportunities (provision of technical and financial support to the organisation of festivals, etc.)

- Research and documentation (research on history and role of Timbila in the Chopi society, etc.)

- Awareness-raising opportunities (production and dissemination of documentary and promotional material on Timbila, improvement of the cooperation between Timbila practitioners and the tourist operators, etc.)

- Protection of legal and economic interests (strengthening of the legal protection specific for Timbila, etc.)

- Support to instrument making (programme of enhancement of the quality and authenticity of the Timbila instruments, promotion of the planting of trees, etc.)


Through this Project, the national and local capacity to safeguard intangible heritage as well as to preserve the natural environment will be strengthened.





UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust for the Preservation and Promotion of the Intangible Cultural Heritage


Masterpieces proclaimed in 2005 - Chopi Timbila Tradition in Mozambique


人類の口承及び無形遺産の傑作の宣言 (2005年)


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