While Zanzibar is rightfully portrayed in all the travel brochures as an “idyllic tropical paradise” that offers the visitor “a splendour of emerald forests, azure seas, blue skies with playful clouds, palm trees, coffee scented with cardamom, golden beaches and delectable food”, it belies the real Zanzibar that seems so far removed from those idyllic depictions.
For most visitors to this tiny Indian Ocean island tucked somewhere off the east coast of Africa close to the equator, the real Zanzibar sadly, is nothing more than a blur as tourists are sped in air conditioned taxi cabs en route to their resort destinations where comfortable loungers and colourful cocktails adorned with cute little paper umbrellas await their arrival and where men, immaculately dressed in stiffly starched cotton Sherwanis tied with bright silk sashes around their waists, stand silently ready in the shadows of elegant white-washed portals to wait on their every whim.
This publication aims to bring that blur into focus, and to reveal the real face of Zanzibar and its people.
Although it is a face that has been badly scarred over the ages by the grandiose ambitions of Sultans, the avarice of spice merchants and the inglorious evils of slave traders, it is also a face that possesses a rare and timeless beauty.
Discovering the real Zanzibar is a truly serendipitous experience that reflects the many different and varied influences that have given it its almost magical allure and mystical charm.
Zanzibar seems to be caught in the grip of a distant time gone past, with its Moorish, Arabic, Persian, Indian, Indonesian, Portuguese, English, and of course... its richly African roots still very visible all over - in its architecture, in its music, in its food, and in its people, if only one dared to pause for a moment and allow the veil to be drawn back to reveal something of the mood and the real face of a very special place...
Having been blessed (or burdened - my husband and I have never really been able to figure out which it is) with a restlessness and a dissatisfaction with the mundane and the ordinary, we have always been inclined to embrace life as a true gift from God that is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the things that take our breath away. After all, life we believe, is like playing a trumpet - the more you put into it, the more you are going to get out of it! While this has often led the two of us to go where only fools will dare to venture, it has given us much to celebrate and a great deal to bemoan, but never to regret! After all, it is only when we risk that we raise our awareness and we attune our senses to the beauty and the splendour of God’s creation!