Searching for the skull of Sultan Mkwawa

A young Tanzanian computer scientist, Is-Haka Mkwawa, great-grandson of the famous East African chief Mkwawa, goes "Headhunting" in European museums and archives, trying to figure out why German colonial officers took the head of his great grandfather a century ago to Germany, where it was finally found. 

Tanzanian national hero Mkwawa fought the German colonialists for seven years before his death in 1898. German colonial troops cut off his head and sent the skull to Berlin. Twenty years later, a provision in the Versailles peace treaty demanded that the skull of the Hehe chief be returned to his people in East Africa. But the Germans refused for many decades to carry out this provision. 

The Versailles Treaty: 
"ARTICLE 246. 
Within six months from the coming into force of the present Treaty, ... Germany will hand over to His Britannic Majesty's Government the skull of the Sultan Mkwawa which was removed from the Protectorate of German East Africa and taken to Germany." 

The voyage takes Is-Haka Mkwawa and German filmmaker Martin Baer to various sites in Tanzania and Europe, where the colonial past is remembered in different manners. A bizarre chapter of German-Tanzanian history told as an odyssey through Tanzanian archives, British libraries and German museums, seen through the eyes of a modern Tanzanian.


2:12 minutes – Trailer

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Usakaji Wa Fuvu (Swahili Version von "Eine Kopfjagd")

Usakaji wa Fuvu (Swahili version of "Headhunting") on Vimeo

12e édition du Festival International du film d'histoire à Pessac, France - 2001
"Mention spéciale au documentaire "Chasseur de tête" – Prix lycéen du documentaire historique"

5th Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) -  Festival of the Dhow Countries –  2002

European Film Festival (EFF) - Dar es Salaam, Tanzania  –  2009