A new music video for “Historia” by Tanzanian R&B singer Lady Jaydee features the Goshen College history professor’s book, “Telling our own Stories, Local Histories from South Mara, Tanzania.” Watch the video here:
Bender Shetler spent three months in Tanzania and England after receiving a $24,000 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In the East African country, she researched the Serengeti’s people and land. In Tanzania, she met local elders and traveled with them into a game reserve that surrounds Serengeti National Park. They hadn’t been there for three decades, and she said “they nearly cried when they entered the park because it is such sacred ground to them.”
“I am trying to give these people a voice because they have been silenced and given no say over their ancestral land,” Bender Shetler recalled in a news release after her return to the United States. “I want to be able to insert a new historical voice from the communities surrounding the park to the discussions of tourists, policy makers, conservationists, development workers, park managers, academics and students as they think about the future of Africa’s humanized wilderness.”
Bender Shetler’s book was published in 2003 and translated into Swahili and English.
There are several shots of Lady Jaydee reading the book in the first minute of the music video.
“The book seeks to both humanize and complicate popular understandings of the Serengeti as a pristine wilderness by giving agency to those people who helped create it,” she said. “This is a study of environmental history and looks at long-term relationships between people and the environment and how they both changed over time.”
Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.