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Digitalization of Sumba Oral Literature as a Pilot Project for Other Traditional Villages

Universitas Indonesia > News > Faculty of Humanities News > Digitalization of Sumba Oral Literature as a Pilot Project for Other Traditional Villages

Depok, August 30th 2023. Kadoku Village in Wanokaka District, Weimangoma Village, West Sumba, Sumba Island, was the location visited by the Community Service and Empowerment Team, Faculty of Humanities, Universitas Indonesia (FIB UI) throughout July-August 2023. Their arrival was part of the FIB UI Community Service and Empowerment Program chaired by Diah Kartini Lasman, M.Hum. (French Studies Program lecturer) which consists of two other lecturers, namely Dr. Hendra Kaprisma (lecturer of the Russian Studies Program, General Manager) and Nazarudin, M.A. (lecturer of the Indonesian Studies Program), as well as two students, Syifa Nurannisa and Diajeng NRS. This team initiated the digital narrative of Kampung Kadoku which was also published in a form of QR Code.

Kampung Kadoku is one of the traditional villages that still maintains traditional rituals and ancestral oral traditions. In the village, there are 20 traditional houses known as Uma Menara, which have tower roofs made of reeds.

Uma Menara has a stilt house architecture made of bamboo and wooden planks. The main house in Kadoku Village is called Uma Habei which is said to have been built directly by Ubu Uang, the founder of Kadoku Village. Inside Uma Habei ,there are still carvings commonly called “Habei”. These carvings are still known as taboo carvings and cannot be photographed or seen by people from outside the Kadoku village.

The establishment of Kadoku Village is related to the Legend of Lende Watu, namely the collapse of the stone bridge that connected Sumba to other islands. No one knows for sure about the other islands mentioned in this legend. Some people suspect that the other island is Bima (Sumbawa), there are also those who suspect that the other island is Flores. However, the coral bridge known as Lende Watu is believed to have taken many Sumba residents away and not to return. Umbu Uang is a holy hermit from inside the cave who controls thunder and lightning. With his power, Umbu Uang destroyed Lende Watu. After that, Umbu Uang founded Uma Habei in Kadoku Village, which still exists today.

This legend, which is Sumba’s oral literary heritage, is narrated digitally by the FIB UI Community Service Team. The digital cultural narrative is made of a QR Code, then this QR Code is placed in the traditional village which can be a reference for tourists who want to know the story of the origins of this village. Considering that the signals on Sumba are not always stable, the FIB UI community service team also prints digital cultural narratives in Indonesian and English on a poster that is placed at the entrance to Kampung Kadoku. This was done to prepare the Kadoku traditional village to become the first digital-based tourist destination on Sumba Island.

It is hoped that this will become a “pilot project” for other traditional villages. The FIB UI community service was welcomed by the West Sumba Tourism Service, led by Mr. Charles H. Weru as Head of the Service and facilitated by Mrs. Annisa Umar Bamualim as Secretary of the West Sumba Tourism Office.

“Digital cultural narratives are very important in preserving culture and also in determining sustainable tourist destinations. We don’t want tourists to just come and see the shape of a traditional village without understanding its essence. This is what underlies our activities.” Said Diah Kartini Lasman, M.Hum. as head of the FIB UI Community Service Team.

She also said that going forward, the FIB UI Community Service Team will still create digital cultural narratives for each Uma Menara in Kadoku Village—as it was just discovered in this search that each Uma Menara has its own name, function and story in the Kadoku traditional ritual.

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