Zanj Bar (land of the blacks). East Africa, the island territory in federation with Tanzania. I was there in 1974 while attending the Sixth Pan African conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I have many memories. Two of the most vivid–one is pain filled, the other beautiful; non-intuitively, both were in the same spot.
We were taken to the east side of the island, bordered by the Indian ocean. We were shown and actually touched the boulders in the water that had iron rings driven into the tops of them. They were used as mooring points for Arab slave ships. Enslaved people were chained to those rocks in the water while awaiting shipment. The other image is from the same shore.
I have traveled literally around the world, New Orleans to South Korea, the Caribbean and South America, plus Europe. The most beautiful water I have seen is the blue/green waters on the coast of Zanzibar. It was an absolutely enchanting moment when we were driven to a shamba, a small farm on the east coast of the island. When we arrived, it was just a nondescript, small, white stucco building. But when we were led around to the back of the building, we were rewarded with the entrancing vista of the Indian ocean washing ashore.
At first we didn’t notice the food-laden tables. Indeed, a number of our brothers and sisters in the British delegation had on swim suits beneath their street clothes. Some, without any hesitancy whatsoever, shed their outer garments and dove into the water.
I just stood there, starring at the water. We also went on a tour –picture a romantic ramble through a casbah-like town, and a visit to a cigarette factory built and maintained by the Chinese government, along with a radio station.
I’ve walked on the great wall of China, danced in a Cuban plaza, stood atop the citadel in Haiti, floated on the beaches of Barbados, and so forth. But the waters of Zanzibar. Those emerald waters, they were unforgettable.
Asante, the first born of the five Salaam siblings, next year you’ll be in Zanzibar.