It’s May 5th which means today its African World Heritage Day!
African World Heritage Day was declared by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2015 to celebrate the cultural and natural heritage of Africa, making this year its 6th year to celebrate its cultural heritage! African cultural and natural, tangible and intangible heritage is celebrated across the globe, raising awareness of the benefits of its promotion and preservation, as well as the related challenges the continent faces.
The word ‘heritage’ refers to family identity, it’s the values, traditions, culture, and tangible artifacts handed down by previous generations, but can also be intangible and refer to ethnic, cultural, national identity, or skills and knowledge passed down.
Africa is full of culture, with over 2000 languages estimated to be spoken there and 7 major religions celebrated between its people. Today, it’s home to 1.373 billion people (16% of the world’s population), with 58 countries and a landmass of 30.37 million km²- that’s 6% of the Earth’s surface and a whopping 20% of the planet’s actual land area!
Did you know that Africa apparently wasn’t the original name of the continent? The ancient name of Africa was Alkebulan, meaning ‘mother of mankind’ or ‘garden of Eden’. It is theorised that the world African was given to the continent by the ancient Greeks and Romans sometime in the late 17th Century and had been originally used to refer to Northern parts of the continent, however colonialism influenced the name to be used for all parts. Some also speculate the current name was actually used way before then alongside its original one and one was simply used more than the other, however there isn’t much to give a precise date as to exactly when the change was made for definite.
Given the climate, Africa is known for being the second driest continent in the world, second to Antarctica which is too cold for precipitation. In spite of this, the nature in Africa is still truly stunning, being home to breath taking natural monuments such as Mount Kilimanjaro, Victoria Falls, the River Nile and the Egyptian Pyramids, the Sahara Desert, and even a range of national parks that are focused on preserving the life and longevity of some of the world’s most endangered species.
Alongside its beauty, Africa was the first to engage in mining over 43,000 years ago due to the land being so rich with mineral reserves, ranking at the top in quantity of world reserves of bauxite, cobalt, industrial diamond, phosphate rock, platinum-group metals (PGM), vermiculite, and zirconium. People in Africa were the first to explore agriculture, cultivating crops over 12000 years ago such as peas, lentils and barley, and herded wild animals like goats and wild oxen!
For Cajuu, Africa is the continent where Tanzania is located, a country extremely close to our hearts. Tanzania alone has a population of 58 million, and is known for its vast wilderness areas, ancient forests and array of animals. 30% of Tanzania is just national parks alone, including the Serengeti National Park, which is a World Heritage Site and is honoured as 7th world wonder. The Serengeti is the site of the Great Migration where over 2million animals travel across the plains for fresh grasslands, including zebras, wildebeest, great buffalo herds, elephants, giraffe, leopard, gazelle and the endangered Eastern Black Rhinoceros.
Tarangire National Park is where you can find the infamous tree climbing lions and the Baobab tree that can live to a whopping 1000 years old! According to scientists, the oldest Baobab tree surpassed the 1000 year mark and has lived to 6000 years, located in South Africa!
Whilst game reserves and hunting are unfortunately still legal in Africa, the organizations that run National Parks are devoted to caring for the animals, and local communities avoid legal hunting because the price is far too high. Most legal hunters in the region are foreign trophy hunters.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa, standing at around 5895 meters above sea level, freestanding, and houses almost every kind of ecological system there is, from cultivated land, to rainforest, alpine desert, and arctic summit. What some don’t know is that it’s actually a dormant volcano, meaning whilst it’s not erupted for a long time, it still could. It has three volcano cones called Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira, Kibo being the only one not extinct and able to erupt again, the last major eruption being 360,000 years ago and any activity being 200 years ago.
In terms of Cajuu, our heritage is intangible, relating to skills and knowledge passed down through our family. Our story spans back to the 1950s where Cajuu’s grandparents opened Alibhai Store, a suiting and tailoring business in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This then led to cashews being offered to customers whilst they were being measured in 1978, however the cashews became so popular, new partnerships were formed with hundreds of cashew farmers throughout southern Tanzania to source and supply only the freshest, largest cashews. This led to Cajuu launching in 2018, bringing the exceptional product, provenance, and family expertise to the UK.
To ensure we carry on this heritage, we’re focused on spreading awareness about the morals and ethos of our brand. We respect and ensure the safety of our farming partners, ensuring the demand for our products translates into a decent pay for them, alongside providing equipment to keep them safe when working on the farms. We are constantly looking for ways we can help protect and ensure the long life of all nature in Tanzania, starting with planting more trees and keeping our emissions low by exporting straight from Tanzania to the UK and avoiding unnecessary excess travel.
We’re always looking at more ways to increase our sustainability methods, not just to protect the planet but also protect African heritage so it can live on and continue to grow, develop, and become more worldly recognised. For us, its important we remember our roots, our heritage, and make sure that it can be remembered by future generations.
We hope you’ll continue to support us and follow us on our journey!