Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania in East Africa. It is composed of the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, 25–50 kilometres off the coast of the mainland, and consists of many small islands and two large ones: Unguja (the main island, referred to informally as Zanzibar) and Pemba. The capital is Zanzibar City, located on the island of Unguja. Its historic centre is Stone Town, which is a World Heritage Site.
Zanzibar’s main industries are spices, raffia, and tourism. In particular, the islands produce cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper. For this reason, the islands, together with Tanzania’s Mafia Island, are sometimes called the Spice Islands (a term also associated with the Maluku Islands in Indonesia). Zanzibar is the home of the endemic Zanzibar red colobus monkey, the Zanzibar servaline genet, and the (possibly extinct) Zanzibar leopard. The presence of microlithic tools suggest that it has been home to humans for at least 20,000 years, which was the beginning of the Later Stone Age.
1.2 History of Zanzibar
Zanzibar was a base for voyages between the Middle East, India, and Africa. Unguja, the larger island, offered a protected and defensible harbor, so although the archipelago offered few products of value, the Persians settled at what became Zanzibar City (“Stone Town”) a convenient point from which to trade with the Swahili Coast towns. They established garrisons on the islands and built the first Zoroastrian fire temples and mosques in the Southern Hemisphere.
The impact of these traders and immigrants on the Swahili culture is uncertain. During the middle Ages, Zanzibar and other settlements on the Swahili Coast were advanced. The littoral contained a number of autonomous trade cities. These towns grew in wealth as the Bantu Swahili people served as intermediaries and facilitators to local, Arab, Persian, Indonesian, Malaysian, Indian, and Chinese merchants. This interaction contributed in part to the evolution of the Swahili culture, which developed its own written language. Although a Bantu language, Swahili as a consequence today includes some elements that were borrowed from other civilizations, particularly Arabic loanwords. With the wealth that they had acquired through trade, some of the Arab traders also became rulers of the coastal cities.
Vasco da Gama’s visit in 1498 marked the beginning of European influence. In 1503 or 1504, Zanzibar became part of the Portuguese Empire when Captain Ruy Lourenço Ravasco Marques landed and demanded and received tribute from the sultan in exchange for peace. Zanzibar remained a possession of Portugal for almost two centuries. It initially became part of the Portuguese province of Arabia and Ethiopia and was administered by a governor general. Around 1571, Zanzibar became part of the western division of the Portuguese empire and was administered from Mozambique. It appears, however, that the Portuguese did not closely administer Zanzibar. The first English ship to visit Unguja, the Edward Bonaventure in 1591, found that there was no Portuguese fort or garrison. The extent of their occupation was a trade depot where produce was purchased and collected for shipment to Mozambique. “In other respects, the affairs of the island were managed by the local ‘king’, the predecessor of the Mwinyi Mkuu of Dunga. This hands-off approach ended when Portugal established a fort on Pemba around 1635 in response to the Sultan of Mombasa’s slaughter of Portuguese residents several years earlier. Portugal had long considered Pemba to be a troublesome launching point for rebellions in Mombasa against Portuguese rule.
The precise origins of the sultans of Unguja are uncertain. However, their capital at Unguja Kuu is believed to have been an extensive town. Possibly constructed by locals, it was composed mainly of perishable materials.
Zanzibar is an archipelago consisting of two main Islands of Unguja (commonly referred to as Zanzibar Island), Pemba and about 51 other surrounding small islets. Zanzibar is a partner state in the United Republic of Tanzania with the Mainland. The name Zanzibar is derived from a combination of two Arabic words, ‘Zenj’, meaning black, and ‘bar’, being the Arabic word for land, resulting in the ancient title ‘Land of the Blacks’. As Zanzibar absorbed peoples from as far as the Orient and Iberia, Assyria and India. Pemba is the second largest island of the Archipelago, named Al-khudra “The Green Island” by the Arabic mariners. It is famous for its clove production and its channels offer some of the best diving hospitality and
Zanzibar cultures became more diverse in its range, more unique in its expression. Zanzibar is the birthplace of Swahili, a lingua franca forged from global dialects, upon which legends were carried, trade routes opened and a Sultan’s empire prospered. It is here that the Africa Culture blended with other cultures mainly Persian, Arabic and Indian to forms Swahili Culture. Today the romance, the splendor and legends of the past are still vibrantly alive, traditional sailing dhows, carved wooden and doors, chests, the scent of the clove and the smile of the hospitable people welcomes you to Zanzibar.
Zanzibar is a part of the United Republic of Tanzania and has its own Government led by its president. It has a House of Representatives popularly elected and cabinet ministers for all matters which are not Union Affairs. Since 1995 election, Zanzibar is a multiparty democracy.
Sultanate of Zanzibar
The old castle in Zanzibar
The older settlements are quite distinct from the later lordship of Oman and Maskat. When the Portuguese arrived in 1498 they found on the coast a series of independent towns, peopled by Arabs, but not united to Arabia by any political tie. Their relations with these Arabs were mostly hostile, but during the sixteenth century they firmly established their power, and ruled with the aid of tributary Arab sultans. This system lasted till 1631, when the Sultan of Mombasa massacred the European inhabitants. In the remainder of their rule, the Portuguese appointed European governors, who were apparently most distasteful to the natives, for they invited the Arabs of Oman, who now appear on the scene for the first time, to assist them in driving the foreigners out.
On 10 December 1963, the protectorate that had existed over Zanzibar since 1890 was terminated by the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom did not grant Zanzibar independence, as such, because the UK had never had sovereignty over Zanzibar. Rather, by the Zanzibar Act 1963 of the United Kingdom, the UK ended the Protectorate and made provision for full self-government in Zanzibar as an independent country within the Commonwealth. Upon the Protectorate being abolished, Zanzibar became a constitutional monarchy under the Sultan. However, just a month later, on 12 January 1964 Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah was deposed during the Zanzibar Revolution. The Sultan fled into exile, and the Sultanate was replaced by the People’s Republic of Zanzibar and Pemba. In April 1964, the republic merged with mainland Tanganyika. This United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar was soon renamed, blending the two names, as the United Republic of Tanzania, within which Zanzibar remains a semi-autonomous region.
The 2002 census is the most recent census for which results have been reported. The total population of Zanzibar was 984,625 with an annual growth rate of 3.1 percent. The population of Zanzibar City, which was the largest city, was 205,870.
Around two thirds of the people, 622,459, lived on Unguja (Zanzibar Island), with most settled in the densely populated west. Besides Zanzibar City, other towns on Unguja include Chaani, Mbweni, Mangapwani, Chwaka, and Nungwi. Outside of these towns, most people live in small villages and are engaged in farming or fishing.
The population of Pemba Island was 362,166. The largest town on the island was Chake-Chake, with a population of 19,283. The smaller towns are Wete and Mkoani.
Mafia Island, the other major island of the Zanzibar Archipelago but administered by mainland Tanzania (Tanganyka), had a total population of 40,801.
1.4 Ethnic origins and languages
The people of Zanzibar are of diverse ethnic origins. The first permanent residents of Zanzibar seem to have been the ancestors of the Bantu Hadimu and Tumbatu, who began arriving from the African Great Lakes mainland around AD 1000. They belonged to various mainland ethnic groups and on Zanzibar, lived in small villages, and did not coalesce to form larger political units. Zanzibar is today inhabited mostly by ethnic Swahili, a Bantu population. There are also a number of Arabs as well as some Indians.
Zanzibaris speak Swahili (Kiswahili), a Bantu language that is extensively spoken in the African Great Lakes region. Alongside English, Swahili is one of the two official languages of Tanzania.
Coastline off Zanzibar
bird’s view of the stone city in Zanzibar.
Zanzibar is one of the Indian Ocean islands. It is situated on the Swahili Coast, adjacent to Tanganyika (mainland Tanzania).
The northern tip of Unguja island is located at 5.72 degrees south, 39.30 degrees east, with the southernmost point at 6.48 degrees south, 39.51 degrees east. The island is separated from the Tanzanian mainland by a channel, which at its narrowest point is 36.5 kilometres (22.7 mi) across. The island is about 85 kilometres (53 mi) long and 39 kilometres (24 mi) wide, with an area of 1,464 km2 (565 sq mi). Unguja is mainly low lying, with its highest point being 120 metres (390 ft). Unguja is characterised by beautiful sandy beaches with fringing coral reefs. The reefs are rich in marine biodiversity.
The northern tip of Pemba island is located at 4.87 degrees south, 39.68 degrees east, and the southernmost point is located at 5.47 degrees south, 39.72 degrees east. The island is separated from the Tanzanian mainland by a channel some 56 kilometres (35 mi) wide. The island is about 67 kilometres (42 mi) long and 23 kilometres (14 mi) wide, with an area of 985 km2 (380 sq mi). Pemba is also mainly low lying, with its highest point being 95 metres (312 ft).
See also: Climate of Tanzania
The heat of summer (corresponding to the Northern Hemisphere winter) is often cooled by strong sea breezes associated with the northeast monsoon (known as Kaskazi in Kiswahili), particularly on the north and east coasts. Being near to the equator, the islands are warm year round. Rains occur in November but are characterised by brief showers. Longer rains normally occur in March, April, and May in association with the southwest monsoon (known locally as Kusi in Kiswahili).
|[hide]Climate data for Zanzibar|
|Average high °C (°F)||32
|Average low °C (°F)||24
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||58
Main article: Wildlife of Zanzibar
The red colobus of Zanzibar (Procolobus kirkii), taken at Jozani Forest, Zanzibar, Tanzania.
A dolphin in the Indian Ocean near Zanzibar
The main island of Zanzibar, Unguja, has a fauna reflecting its connection to the African mainland during the last Ice Age.
Endemic mammals with continental relatives include the Zanzibar red colobus, one of Africa’s rarest primates, with perhaps only 1,500 existing. Isolated on this island for at least 1,000 years, the Zanzibar red colobus (Procolobus kirkii) is recognized as a distinct species, with different coat patterns, calls, and food habits than related colobus species on the mainland. The Zanzibar red colobus live in a wide variety of drier areas of coastal thickets and coral rag scrub, as well as mangrove swamps and agricultural areas. About one third of them live in and around Jozani Forest. The easiest place to see the colubus are on farm land adjacent to the reserve. They are accustomed to people and the low vegetation means they come close to the ground.
Rare native animals include the Zanzibar leopard, which is critically endangered and possibly extinct, and the recently described Zanzibar servaline genet. There are no large wild animals in Unguja. Forested areas such as Jozani are inhabited by monkeys, bush-pigs, small antelopes, civets, and, rumor has it, the elusive leopard. Various species of mongoose can also be found on the island. There is a wide variety of birdlife and a large number of butterflies in rural areas.
Pemba Island is separated from Unguja island and the African continent by deep channels and has a correspondingly restricted fauna, reflecting its comparative isolation from the mainland. The island is home to the Pemba flying fox.
The Manta Resort
A panorama of Stone Town taken from the Indian Ocean. Seen in the picture are the Sultan’s palace, House of Wonders, Forodhani Gardens, and St. Joseph’s Cathedral
Standard of living and health
Considerable disparities exist in the standard of living for inhabitants of Pemba and Unguja, as well as the disparity between urban and rural populations. The average annual income is US$250. About half the population lives below the poverty line.
Despite a relatively high standard of primary health care and education, infant mortality in Zanzibar is 54 out of 1,000 live births, which is 10.0 percent lower than the rate in mainland Tanzania. The child mortality rate in Zanzibar is 73 out of 1,000 live births, which is 21.5 percent lower than the rate in mainland Tanzania.
It is estimated that 12% of children on Zanzibar have acute malnutrition.
Life expectancy at birth is 57 years, which is significantly lower than the 2010 world average of 67.2.
The general prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the sexually active population of Zanzibar is 0.6 percent, with the rate slightly higher in females (0.7 percent) than males (0.5 percent). The rate for divorced women, however, is 10 percent and is even higher for injecting drug users (16 percent), men who have sex with men (MSM) (12.3 percent), and female sex workers (10.8 percent). Among MSM, 13.9 percent reported injecting drugs within the previous three months, 77.5 percent reported being paid for sex within the previous year, and 71.2 percent reported having female sex partners within the previous year.
Aquaculture of red algae (Eucheuma), Jambiani, Zanzibar.
Tourism is one of the main sectors of the economy
Market stall in Zanzibar’s Stone Town.
Ancient pottery implies trade routes with Zanzibar as far back as the time of the ancient Assyrians. Traders from the Arabian Peninsula, the Persian Gulf region of modern-day Iran (especially Shiraz), and west India probably visited Zanzibar as early as the 1st century. They used the monsoon winds to sail across the Indian Ocean to land at the sheltered harbor located on the site of present-day Zanzibar City.
The clove, originating from the Moluccan Islands (today in Indonesia), was introduced in Zanzibar by the Omani sultans in the first half of the 19th century. Zanzibar, mainly Pemba Island, was once the world’s leading clove producer, but annual clove sales have plummeted by 80 percent since the 1970s. Zanzibar’s clove industry has been crippled by a fast-moving global market, international competition, and a hangover from Tanzania’s failed experiment with socialism in the 1960s and 1970s, when the government controlled clove prices and exports. Zanzibar now ranks a distant third with Indonesia supplying 75 percent of the world’s cloves compared to Zanzibar’s 7 percent.
Zanzibar exports spices, seaweed and fine raffia. It also has a large fishing and dugout canoe production. Tourism is a major foreign currency earner.
The Government of Zanzibar legalized foreign exchange bureaux on the islands before mainland Tanzania moved to do so. The effect was to increase the availability of consumer commodities. The government has also established a free port area, which provides the following benefits: contribution to economic diversification by providing a window for free trade as well as stimulating the establishment of support services; administration of a regime that imports, exports, and warehouses general merchandise; adequate storage facilities and other infrastructure to cater for effective operation of trade; and creation of an efficient management system for effective re-exportation of goods.
The island’s manufacturing sector is limited mainly to import substitution industries, such as cigarettes, shoes, and processed agricultural products. In 1992, the government designated two export-producing zones and encouraged the development of offshore financial services. Zanzibar still imports much of its staple requirements, petroleum products, and manufactured articles.
There is also a possibility of oil availability in Zanzibar on the island of Pemba, and efforts have been made by the Tanzanian Government and Zanzibar revolutionary Government to exploit what could be one of the most significant discoveries in recent memory. Oil would help boost the economy of Zanzibar, but there have been disagreements about dividends between the Tanzanian mainland and Zanzibar, the latter claiming the oil should be excluded in Union matters.
Tourists in boat are chasing dolphins in the Indian Ocean near Zanzibar
In 2007, a Norwegian consultancy firm went to Zanzibar to determine how the region could develop its oil potential. The firm recommended that Zanzibar follow neo-liberal economist Hernando de Soto Polar’s ideas about the formalization of property rights for persons living on ancestral land for which they probably do not have a legal deed.
The energy sector in Zanzibar consists of unreliable electric power, petroleum and petroleum products; it is also supplemented by firewood and its related products. Coal and gas are rarely used for both domestic and industrial purposes.
Unguja (Zanzibar Island) gets most of its electric power from mainland Tanzania through a 39-kilometer, 100-megawatt submarine cable from Ras Kiromoni (near Dar es Salaam) to Ras Fumba on Unguja. The laying of the cable was begun on 10 October 2012 by the Viscas Corporation of Japan and was funded by a US$28.1 million grant from the United States through the Millennium Challenge Corporation. The cable became operational on 13 April 2013. The previous 45-megawatt cable, which was seldom-maintained, was completed by Norway in 1980.
Since May 2010, Pemba Island has had a 75-kilometer, 25-megawatt, subsea electrical link directly to mainland Tanzania. The cable project was financed through a 45 million euro grant from Norway and contributions of 8 million euros from the Zanzibar government and 4 million euros from the Tanzanian national government. The project ended years of dependence on unreliable and erratic diesel generation subject to frequent power cuts. Only about 20 percent of the cable’s capacity was being used in January 2011, so it is anticipated that the cable will meet the island’s needs for 20 to 25 years.
Between 70 and 75 percent of the electricity generated is used domestically while less than 20 percent is used industrially. Fuel wood, charcoal and kerosene are widely used as sources of energy for cooking and lighting for most rural and urban areas. The consumption capacity of petroleum, gas, oil, kerosene and industrial diesel oil is increasing annually, going from a total of 5,650 tons consumed in 1997 to more than 7,500 tons in 1999.
From 21 May to 19 June 2008, Unguja suffered a major failure of its electricity system, which left the island without electrical service and mostly dependent on diesel generators. The failure originated in mainland Tanzania. Another blackout happened from 10 December 2009 to 23 March 2010, caused by a problem with the submarine cable that formerly supplied electricity from mainland Tanzania. This led to a serious shock to Unguja’s fragile economy, which is heavily dependent on foreign tourism.
Zanzibar has 1,600 kilometres of roads, of which 85 percent are tarmacked or semi-tarmacked. The remainders are earth roads, which are rehabilitated annually to make them passable throughout the year. Zanzibar, to ensure the roads are passable at all times and are maintained had established a Road Fund Board, situated at maisala which collects funds and disburses to Ministry of Communication, whom is the Road Agency at this time through the Department of Road Maintenance, known as UUB.
The Road Fund Board oversees a Performance Agreement entered between the Ministry of Communication and Infrastructure, while all the procurements and maintenances are assumed by the later.
There is no government-owned public transportation in Zanzibar. The privately owned Daladala, as it is officially known in Zanzibar, is the only kind of public transportation. The term Daladala originated from the Kiswahili word DALA or five shillings during the 1970s and 1980s when public transport cost five shillings.
There are five ports in the islands of Unguja and Pemba, all operated and developed by the Zanzibar Ports Corporation.
The main port at Malindi, which handles 90 percent of Zanzibar’s trade, was built in 1925. The port was rehabilitated between 1989 and 1992 with financial assistance from the European Union. The Italian contractor, Salini Impregilo S.p.A., was supposed to build wharves that lasted 60 years; however, the wharves lasted only 11 years before crumbling and degenerating because the company deviated from the specifications. After a long legal battle, the company was required in 2005 by the International Court of Arbitration to pay Zanzibar US$11.6 million in damages. The port was again rehabilitated between 2004 and 2009 with a 31 million euro grant from the European Union. The contract was awarded to M/S E. Phil and Sons of Denmark. The then-director of the contractor suggested that the rehabilitation would last a minimum of 50 years. But the port is again facing problems, including sinking.
The MV Faith, which began its final journey at the port of Dar es Salaam, sank in May 2009 shortly before docking at the port of Malindi. Six of the 25 people aboard lost their lives.
The MV Skagit, which also began its final journey at the port of Dar es Salaam, capsized in rough seas near Chumbe island on 18 July 2012. The ferry had 447 passengers, with 81 dead, 212 missing and presumed drowned, and 154 rescued. The ferry left port despite warnings from the Tanzania Meteorological Agency for ships not to attempt the crossing from Dar es Salaam to Unguja island because of the rough seas. A presidential commission reported in October 2012 that overloading was the cause of the disaster.
Worst maritime disaster in Tanzanian history
Main article: Zanzibar ferry sinking
The MV Spice Islander I sank on 10 September 2011 after departing from Unguja island for Pemba Island. In a report to the Zanzibar House of Representatives on 14 October 2011, Zanzibar’s Second Vice President, Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi, said that 2,764 people were missing, 203 bodies had been recovered, and 619 passengers were rescued. It was the worst maritime disaster in Tanzanian history. A presidential commission, however, reported three months later that 1,370 people were missing, 203 bodies had been recovered, and 941 passengers survived. Severe overloading caused the ferry to sink.
Zanzibar Airport Terminal I
Zanzibar’s main airport, Zanzibar International Airport, can handle large passenger planes since 2011, which has resulted in an increase in passenger and cargo inflows and outflows. Since another increase in capacity by the end of 2013, it can serve up to 1.5 million passengers per year. The island can be reached by flights operated by Auric Air, Qatar Airways, FlyDubai and Coastal Aviation.
A view of the clock tower in House of Wonders through Islamic styled door in the Stone City of Zanzibar.
Zanzibar’s most famous event is the Zanzibar International Film Festival, also known as the Festival of the Dhow Countries. Every July, this event showcases the best of the Swahili Coast arts scene, including Zanzibar’s favorite music, Taarab.
Important architectural features in Stone Town are the Livingstone house, The Old dispensary of Zanzibar, the Guliani Bridge, Ngome kongwe (The Old fort of Zanzibar) and the House of Wonders. The town of Kidichi features the Hamamni Persian Baths, built by immigrants from Shiraz, Iran during the reign of Barghash bin Said.
Zanzibar also is the only place in Eastern African countries to have the longest settlement houses formally known as Michenzani flats which were built by the aid from East Germany during the 1970s to solve housing problems in Zanzibar.
Media and communication
In 1973, Zanzibar introduced the first colour television in sub-Saharan Africa. Because of longstanding opposition to television by President Julius Nyerere, the first television service on mainland Tanzania was not introduced until 1994. The broadcaster in Zanzibar called Television Zanzibar (TVZ) had recently changed name to Zanzibar Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC). following an enactment of an act to make it a public corporation, monitored under the Ministry of Finance by the treasurer registrar Among the famous reporters of TVZ during the 1980s and 1990s were the late Alwiya Alawi 1961–1996 (the elder sister of Inat Alawi, famous Taarab singer during the 1980s), Neema Mussa, Sharifa Maulid, Fatma Mzee, Zaynab Ali, Ramadhan Ali, and Khamis.
Zanzibar has one AM radio station and 21 FM radio stations.
In terms of landline communications, Zanzibar is served by the Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited and Zantel Tanzania.
Almost all mobile and Internet companies serving mainland Tanzania are also available in Zanzibar.
Institute of Marine Sciences, UDSM
In 2000 there were 207 government schools and 118 privately owned schools in Zanzibar. There are also two universities and one college: Zanzibar University, the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) and the Chukwani College of Education.
SUZA was established in 1999, and is located in Stone Town, in the buildings of the former Institute of Kiswahili and Foreign Language (TAKILUKI). It is the only public institution for higher learning in Zanzibar, the other two institutions being private. In 2004, the three institutions had a total enrollment of 948 students, of whom 207 were female.
The primary and secondary education system in Zanzibar is slightly different from that of the Tanzanian mainland. On the mainland, education is only compulsory for the seven years of primary education, while in Zanzibar an additional three years of secondary education are compulsory and free. Students in Zanzibar score significantly less on standardized tests for reading and mathematics than students on the mainland.
In the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, national service after secondary education was necessary, but it is now voluntary and few students volunteer. Most choose to seek employment or attend teacher’s colleges.
A bird’s view of Amaan Stadium in Zanzibar.
Football is the most popular Sport in Zanzibar, overseen by the Zanzibar Football Association. Zanzibar is an associate member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), but not of FIFA. This means that the Zanzibar national football team is not eligible to enter national CAF competitions, such as the African Nations Cup, but Zanzibar’s Football Clubs get representation at the CAF Confederation Cup and the CAF Champions League.
The national team participates in non-FIFA Football tournaments such as the FIFI Wild Cup, and the ELF Cup. Because Zanzibar is not a member of FIFA, their team is not eligible for the FIFA World Cup.
The Zanzibar Football Association also has a Premier League for the top clubs, which was created in 1981.
Since 1992, there has also been Judo in Zanzibar. The founder, Mr. Tsuyoshi Shimaoka established a strong team which participates in national and international competitions. In 1999, Zanzibar Judo Association (Z.J.A.) was registered and became an active member of Tanzania Olympic Committee and International Judo Federation.
March 2013 the Zanzibar Shotokan Karate (ZASHOKA) has joined the International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF).
Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara) of the rock band Queen was born in Stone Town, Zanzibar.
Farouque Abdillahi, who was Princess Diana’s designer
A Zanzibar beach
Stone Town with Sultan’s Palace
The red colobus of Zanzibar (Procolobus kirkii), taken at Jozani Forest, Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Cloves have played a significant role in the history of Zanzibar’s economy
House of Wonders
Zanzibar East Coast beach
Red-knobbed starfish on the beach in Nungwi, northern Zanzibar
Zanzibari slave trader Tippu Tip