A morning walk through the winding alleys of Stone Town took me past intricately carved doors. Indian influenced doors had curved tops, while those with influence from Oman had square shaped tops. In the narrow streets head-scarfed women rubbed shoulders with lithe Masai visiting from main land Tanzania. Everywhere blue and red posters showed the smiling faces of candidates in the coming election.
Being at the heart of the slave trade, Stone Town has more than its fair share of horror stories. I was told of slaves being tied to trees, to then be whipped. A stoic response fetched a high sales price. Children too sick to be sold were thrown into a well which washed out to sea. I learnt of David Livingstone’s hand in ending the slave trade in Africa. By telling others back in England about the conditions that existed he was able to influence movers and shakers to well, move and shake.
Another well known name in Zanzibar’s history is Freddie Mercury of Queen fame. A Zanzibar local, Mercury’s house of birth is now a souvenir shop, accepting either US dollars as well as Tanzanian shillings for its range of local crafts.