Archeologist Sada Mire grew up in Somalia until she fled the war and as a fourteen-year-old refugee ended up in Sweden. In Europe, she discovered that history books mostly ignored African cultures; she decided to study archeology. When she received an ancestral fertility object from her mother, which was carved from a sacred tree and which had been passed down for generations in her family, she decided to go back to Somalia to do research. She soon came to realize that the research methods she was educated with and had taken for granted were not suitable for studying her own culture. The Eurocentric archeology she had been trained with was monument- and object-oriented, dominated by colonial discourse, and mainly about white men studying male cultures.

 

The culture Sada Mire came from was not material-oriented, but rather knowledge-oriented. In the nomadic landscape, trees could be archeological sites, or mountains, with communities and ancestral sites densely woven around them. Somali women had their own way of managing cultural heritage; ancient traditions of birth and death connected to the landscape were orally transmitted.

 

Sada Mire’s work and her book Divine Fertility is a major step towards awareness and decolonization of knowledge.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4UQYem6Dvc