International Encyclopaedia
of the Histories of Anthropology

The Museu do Dundo was created in 1936 in Angola, then a Portuguese colony, by the Diamond Company of Angola (Diamang) in the Lunda district. With the ambition of salvaging and protecting “traditional” (“genuine”, immemorial and pure) African cultural traits which were threatened with extinction by colonization and modernization, this ethnographic museum aimed to contribute to a colonial occupation that it defines as scientific. Its activities are structured according to a logic of converting African populations into objects of study, exhibition and performance. In eastern Angola, the Museum organized several campaigns to collect objects, archaeological and natural objects (fauna and flora) and geological samples, as well as ethnographic compilations of oral literature and to record customs and traditions. At the same time, from the 1940s onwards, the mobilization of “indigenous” workers began to form folk groups which worked for the museum in indigenous folklore shows. Systematic campaigns to build ethnomusicological collections were developed and were at the origin of the current collections of Angolan musical folklore. After Angola’s independence on 11 November 1975, Diamang was dissolved and replaced by Endiama — Empresa Nacional dos Diamantes de Angola. During this period, which was marked by the civil war and the restructuring of the country, the museum continued to store the collections and to receive occasional visits. In 2003, it officially closed its doors to the public. It reopened in 2012 under the name of Museu Regional do Dundo with the permanent exhibition “Living Memory of Culture in the Eastern Region of Angola”, part of the programme for the recovery and renovation of the museum managed by the Angolan Ministry of Culture.

Keywords: Ethnomusicology | Ethnology | Museology/museography | Colonial sciences | Salvage ethnography | Colonialism | Portugal | Lunda | Angola

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