The Tjakalele Alifuru

Documentary – Pika Nendissa was born and raised in the Netherlands and has been performing the Moluccan warrior dance Tjakalele Alifuru from a very early age. He is a descendant of a family that has traditionally been given the right to perform this dance. In this weekly training sessions in the woods near his house in Lunteren, Gelderland (the Netherlands) we focus on the whole process. He carries a few specific attributes with him which are important for the Tjakalele warrior dance. When in the woods, he meditates and performs certain Tjakalele movements. Pika’s individual training.

Side note I: In the present, different forms of the Tjakalele have developed. It is originally a warrior dance of Moluccan natives; the traditional form of the Tjakalele can only be found in the Moluccas. There are a few different names for the Tjakalele, depending on the area: the alawaa, tenoee, keinoeoe and the palakoti. Tjakalele is the name that is used most frequently. The dance was usually performed in preparation for times of war and before going hunting. Today the Tjakalele is performed during adat ceremonies or the installation of a new village chief. It plays an important role in local costumary practices or adat / Side note II: Alifuru is the term used by the Dutch during colonial time for the tribal groups of the mountains of Seram island. The term also had the connotation of “savage” for Ambonese at the end of colonial rule, but has slowly changed into its new meaning. In the Netherlands it is used as reference towards what is authentically Moluccan culture. The semantic change is part of changes towards the newly emerging Moluccan identity in the Diaspora.

*Made in the context of the course Visual Ethnography I (2005) at Leiden University, the Netherlands. Department Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology. A film by Dorien Rhebergen and Atêf Sitanala.