Traditional Crafts and Life Changes
Dr. Asad Abdul Rahman Awad Allah
A Sudanese Writer
The study of traditional crafts that use palm trees of the Merowe region contributes to understanding the cultural heritage in the region in all its various fields; folk literature, customs, traditions, beliefs, traditional knowledge, performing arts and material culture in general.
This study helps us understand the environment of the cultural heritage that produced those crafts, and the cultural developments that have been a result of economic and social changes in the region. We find that traditional crafts adapt to keep pace with the requirements of the time, so they must have proper documentation that focuses on their historical, geographical, economic and social dimensions, and that highlight its important economic and social role so as to utilize that role in sustainable development.
Traditional crafts in the Merowe region represent important economic tributary for society, because they are important components of production. As a means of earning a living, they fulfill the needs of the people, provide stability to a large segment of society and reduce unemployment. It also helps to strengthen social relations between people. Traditional crafts contribute to stability of the individual and society.
The study of traditional crafts shows the level of the development they have been subject to, because of the economic and social changes that take place in society that urge artisans and craftsmen to produce tools that are compatible with the requirements of the age without neglecting traditional aspects. We should here take into consideration that “traditional” does not mean “old”, as explained in the field of folkloric studies.
Traditions have their geographical and historical dimension. The expertise associated with crafts is transmitted from one generation to another and from one region to another. Warren considers tradition more than just a factor of time. He explains that not every old craft necessarily has to be a folkloric craft; we find many traditional industries still thriving today.