Project

Portrait of the Rungwe Archive and Museum Centre (RAMC)

The Rungwe Archive and Museum Centre (RAMC) is situated at Rungwe, near the northern end of lake Malawi in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. The history of the Moravian Church in Tanzania designates this Mission Station as one of special importance: established in 1891, Rungwe was the Church’s first of it’s kind, it remained the center of the Mission in this part of Tanzania and even today, the Head Office of Moravian Church of Tanzania Southern Province is located there.

When Theophil Richard in 1891 first visited the place of the future Mission Station Rungwe, he described it in his journal likewise:

Freitag, den 21. August. Um 9 Uhr, mit drei Mann und dem Sonnenschirm auf Entdeckung, finden, dass wir in direkter Nähe ein Dorf von 100 Hütten haben, dass die Leute sehr fleissig sind, reich an Gärten, reich an Kühen, Mais, Pataten, Bohnen, Malesi (Hirse); Holz in der Nähe, die Stelle ist hoch genug gelegen, kein Dorf oberhalb am Wasser, gesund. Das Wasser ist schwer zugänglich, da es in einer tiefen Schlucht fliesst. Am Nachmittag neue Entdeckungstour, finden Lehm, Ton, zwei Quellen, die sich ableiten lassen und besseres Wasser liefern als der Fluss.“

 

“Friday, 21. August. At 9 o’clock, with three men and a parasol on discovery, we find that there’s a village of 100 huts just a few meters away, that the people are hardworking, rich in gardens, cows, mais, potatoes, beans and Malesi (millet); Wood is quite near, the place is high enough, no village above, healthy. The water is difficult to reach, because it streams in a deep canyon. In the afternoon again a discovery trip, we find clay, brickearth/adobe, two springs, which could be piped in order to get better water than that from the river.”

History of the RAMC

For the occasion of the 100-year jubilee of the Moravian Church of Tanzania Southern Province (MCT-SP) in 1991, the project of an archive and museum in Rungwe was initiated by the church’s former chairman Agentile Musomba. His intention was to collect, unite and preserve the traces (objects, documents, pictures) of the history of the Moravian Church in the Southern Highlands and the people living in this area.

German and Swiss support
From 2004 to 2006 the Moravian Church Foundation in Germany (Stiftung der Herrnhutter Brüdergemeine Deutschland) sustained the project with financial means for a new building. Mission 21 from Switzerland further supported the project by sending of four volunteers. They realized a professionally organised museum and archive. On these grounds, a remarkable and unique collection has been built, stored and overgiven to the Moravian Church of Tanzania. It holds some hundred traditional items, far over 1000 files containing uncountable documents from 1909 up to today and 700 missionary books.

The RAMC becomes a Department
In 2011 the RAMC became a separate department of the MCT-SP and is now led by a designated church officer. In order to link the department with other institutions and groups of interest, an advisory board supports the archivist in his planning and work.

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