Friday, December 30, 2005

Some Zanzibar History

Found another set of notes from Cherono on her first week in Zanzibar(This is from June, but one can still appreciate the commentary)!

my first morning in zanzibar, i was woken up by a loud radio playing from the neighbours house at about 5.30 in the morning. it didn't matter coz i'm in zanzibar, they can play the radio as early as they like. so took an early walk down the beach to the start of a beautiful morning, on the beach there were all these old men, excersising and going on their morning swims, i was impressed. on my way back back home saw three dolphins.(this is definitely the life)
zanzibar is an interesting place, alot of people seem to just sit around and chat, the other day at about 3 in the afternoon, me and friend went to get coffee and we walked by a baraza. this is like a meetin spot where all the men congregate, play dominoes, discuss issues and hang out together. i don't know if means zanzibaris have alot of time on their hands or the afternoon is just to relax, idid appreciate the sense of community and openess present.
the houses here are beautiful, old very old, i walked by a church that was built around 1865 ( i didn't know christianity had a place in islamic zanzibar). that's another thing that i appreciate, i can walk everywhere, to work, to the beach, to eat, to the shops, i might get a bicycle just to ride up and down these little stone town streets and explore the island abit more. everyone and their father owns a scooter which means walking down alleys is sometimes abit cramped and you could get hit by either a scooter or a bicycle.
seen inside a school: This is an english medium school, do not speak swahili.apparently speaking swahili in official places such as schools/colleges/buisinesses is seen as very country. In school, Tanzanian children learn in the medium of swahili until about 14/15 years. After that they have to start learning in english which if you are in a public school, your teacher barely speaks english so you don't really learn anything, or your teacher might continue to teach you in swahili and you learn alot. However the final year exam is set in english so chances are you would fail. its also interesting how when i meet tanzanians and they know i'm not from around, they will insist on speaking english, while i insist on speaking swahili.
dynamics present in Zanzibar: Zanzibar is a very multi-cultural place or so you would think however underneath there is alot of racial,class,gender conflict. Racial: There is a heavy arabic influence in Zanzibar meaning there are black zanzibari's, mixed zanzibaris and indians. all mixed on different levels, apart from the indians, there's alot of interaction between everyone else. there are no distinct lines but my friend was telling me back in 60s when zanzibar was a british protectorate, arab men could marry black zanzibari women but not vice versa. During the Zanzibar revolution (i think 1963) almost all wealthy arab women were forced to marry black men as a retribution for the above. Therefore some of them fled in the middle of the night, and returned to Oman...Gender: women are seen, haven't heard that much from them
on the nightlife: so i was invited to a fullmoon party the other day and i thot, i'm zanzibar, never been to a fullmoon beach party so why not. it turned out to be quite nice, i thought the dj would play all the usual pop stuff but he was really good. Played fela kuti, manu chao, burning spear. and he even played a kwaito track and i went and represented with the only kwaito move that i know, plus you know how south africans love to appreciate a song verbally, so i threw in an ayeye and ayoyo. interesting to see, maasai in traditional dress getting down on the dance floor to reggae (maasais represent in everything, at the market, on the dance floor...where else have they not been)
found a capoeira group (what else do i need to say about that!!!!). i love the food, been eating pilau (fried rice with cardamon,cloves, cinnamon), biriani (baked rice with some other spices that i don't know) Mandazi (donut with coconut milk,cinamon.)spiced tea.
have access to alot of documentaries and movies from all over the world. watched freestyle: the art of rhyme, (USA), The story of a beautiful country (South Africa). all in all, 1st week in zanzibar has been great, because i'm on email more often will definitely write personal emails so for now, my notes are on hiatus.


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