Photo courtesy: Hairt (Talk I contribs) — Wikimedia Commons
You could hear the craftsmen hammering, tap, tap as the next stud made up the pattern emboldened into the wooden box, a Zanzibar chest. The design may have been from Zanzibar, but the containers were also made and sold in Dar es Salaam.
I kept mine in a prized position where I could admire its unique design from anywhere in my bedroom. Inside, I stored my jewellery, but like so many of my keepsakes, the treasure got left behind.
Photo courtesy: Idobi — Wikimedia Commons
I was annoyed when I arrived in Zanzibar and was given a three-day visa. In the end it was a blessing because I felt the ghosts of slaves hovering over the island during my brief visit.
Continue reading Right place, wrong time
Photo courtesy: Fanny Scherzte — Wikimedia Commons
I left Zanzibar after three days. Near panic gripped me and I wasn’t the only one to feel this way. Continue reading Flight from Zanzibar
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At one time, there were thirteen thousand Indians in Zanzibar who’d been encouraged to immigrate during Arab rule. With the Zanzibar revolution in the 1960s followed by independence, this number dwindled. Continue reading Uncertainty and Fear in Zanzibar
The only hint I found of Zanzibar’s British past, was Livingstone’s last house. While he was a glorified explorer in the west, Africans claimed that European “explorers” didn’t discover anything because Africans already knew the location of their lakes and rivers. Continue reading Zanzibar’s explorer myth
Photo courtesy: Vincent van Zeijst — Wikimedia Commons
Stonetown’s narrow streets and carved doors were magical, but its past told another story. With the Arabs came an expansion of the ivory and slave trades. There was a grim reminder in Stonetown Square where slaves were once auctioned. Continue reading Zanzibar’s Cloud of Mystery
Something was in the air when I arrived in Zanzibar and it wasn’t just the aromatic smell of cloves in April. Continue reading Zanzibar — Stepping back in Time
Photo courtesy: Fredrick Mboma — Wikimedia Commons
At three in the morning, we left Simba Nightclub in the Kilimanjaro Hotel with hunger pangs. Dar es Salaam still hadn’t reached half a million people back then so how could we quell our growling stomachs? Continue reading Tanzanian Late Night Feast
I like the sound of this Swahili word. I remember seeing plain baskets everywhere in Dar es Salaam: filled with fish from the fish market; loaded with oranges, limes or mangosteen by fruit vendors; used to pack up ebony carvings at the end of the day. These huge baskets were neatly woven and served a practical purpose. Continue reading Kikapu