MamboFootPrints Usambara Mountains, Tanzania
also known as Madala hominid footprints
(also incorrect published as Mandala hominid footprints)
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Mandala hominid footprints puts Tanga on world map

The West Usambara Mountains, where the Mandala Hominid footprints were discovered.
 
east african
Picture by Herman Erdtsieck, director MamboViewPoint
article by Tiganya Vincent
The East African posted monday september 7, 2009
 

East Africa has been regarded as the cradle of civilisation since the archaeological findings at Koobi Fora on the shores of Lake Turkana and Olduvai Gorge in northern Tanzania.

In another rare archaeological find in the region this year, a group of conservationist and filmmakers stumbled upon the footprints what is now known as the Mandala Hominid, believed to be more than 1.5 million years old in Tanga Region.

The discovery was made on April 8 this year by a team led by Prof Edward Gerry Mgema, an explorer with the National Historic Documentary Films Production unit.

The footprints are pressed into an ash layer, presumably from the nearby Oldonyo Lengai (an active carbonite volcano).

Samples of the ash have been collected for date analysis and results will not be known until late October or November.

It all started in October 2006, when the Tanzania Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism in conjunction with the Ministry of Information, Culture and Sports initiated a fieldwork-based case study on Tanzania’s new tourist attractions and sites, filming and production of investigative documentaries for national and international consumption.

The project was intended to cover all regions on the mainland and Zanzibar, and was proposed and implemented by local volunteer filmmakers firm ThegoldenshoreS Documentary Inc, based in Dar es Salaam. It worked under the close supervision of the Directorate of Information Services through regional administration and local government.

It was the end July 2008, when the filming team, in collaboration with Kilimanjaro Regional Secretariat commenced intensive documentation and filming in Moshi Rural, Same and Mwanga Districts following the undocumented northern Tanzania slave route that ends up at the coast in Tanga region.

By January this year, the team had carried out intensive filming on the northern slave route, drawn by the scenic landscape of the Pare and Usambara mountains and by mid-January they entered Tanga Region.

Tanga’s history is well documented and is marked by indelible traces of the slave trade, amid cultural and ethnic diversity.

It was in February 2009 when the filming team got wind of information about strange voices heard over the years in caves at Ngouzoi, in the Usambara highlands in Lushoto District,” said Prof Mgema.

With consent from the Tanga Regional Secretariat, on April 7, Prof Mgema set out to investigate the claims in Mambo village, Sunga ward in Mtae division, Lushoto district.

The expedition team consisted of Prof Mgema, Sunga ward councillor Ernest Mbondei, guide Ally Shemdolwa, investor Herman Erdtsieck (of Mambo View Point lodge) and driver Paschal Dismas Ndassi.

ON APRIL 8, 2009, THE EXpedition descended from an altitude of 1,900 ft down the facerock of the West Usambara Mountains. With the help of the global positioning system, they reached the rocks that bear what is suspected to be the footprints of early man. These came to be known as the Mandala Hominid footprints.

Apart from the historical discovery, the documentation and filming expeditions in Kilimanjaro region had covered the northern slave route which starts from Kolila in Old Moshi through the Kilema hills on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro to Kivulini and Kifaru in Mwanga district; It continues through Kisiwani, Ndungu and Kihurio on the lower slopes of the eastern Pare Mountains up to Mnazini in Lushoto district.

Prof Mgema said the same route branches out to west Usambara highlands down into Mkinga and Tanga districts where the area is dotted by historical ruins that once served as slave collecting centres.

The filming project collected a variety of historical information and video footages of the northern slave route, which is considered important to the education and tourism sectors.

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