Exploring Zanzibar, I feel I’ve taken a step back in time…
Bustling little markets, narrow labyrinth alleyways and the heady mix of spices, incense and Islamic prayer calls contribute to a mesmerising walk the authentic coastal Stone Town. It’s akin to navigating a Moroccan / Omani souk. The Omani influence is great, fused with the Portuguese and various African heritage. Having swapped hands from the Portuguese Empire to the Sultanate of Oman and acting as the hub of slaves from Africa (later even including a short stint under British rule when the slave trade was abolished), Zanzibar’s origins are vast. This intriguing cocktail is infused within the people, who are beautifully exotic and speak a multitude of languages but mostly a type of Creole indigenous to Zanzibar.
The Residence is a luxury hotel, arguably the best on the island, far North. The staff are welcoming, willing and founts of local knowledge. This is how I come to learn of a nearby village, Muyuni.
HOW TO DISCOVER TRUE ZANZIBAR
To get to The Residence from the airport, it’s a fascinating drive past true Zanzibar. Primitive villages flash before my eyes, mud huts and colourful locals wrapped in clashing bright printed robes and head-dresses. Here, life has changed little over the generations. It’s basic but seems happy. Muyuni village is relatively unknown. It has a nursery school which was set up by villagers and is run by self-appointed locals from the village community. It does its best to offer children some regime and basic education. Overlooked, I’m told, by the Government, the school funds itself.
INTO MUYUNI, ZANZIBAR’S FORGOTTEN VILLAGE
The Residence provides me with it’s best guide, who is passionate about the plight of Muyuni. He translates and explains while I spend half a day with the people of the village, walking through the straw-capped huts and mud to learn about the lifestyle, traditions and customs. I see their daily lives in action, play with the children, visit the children in Nursery and, ultimately, donate a whole heap of educational materials which I have bought locally.
Watching the children in school is a highlight. They’re obedient, smiling from ear to ear and full of joy! I know children at home who comparatively have it all and seldom smile in such a genuinely happy way.
Below are my images from Muyuni village, Zanzibar…
- Zanzibar, the spiced dreams island (idreamofafricablog.wordpress.com)
- Trouble in paradise as Islamist power grows in Zanzibar (express.co.uk)
- CCM opposes Zanzibar’s push for greater autonomy (theeastafrican.co.ke)