ZANZIBAR AT THE PRESENT TIME

  

<<In the mist this guy was snorkelling fifty feet underwater, staying on average for three minutes a time, seven hours day and just about catching six lobsters being sold at 2000 shillings a piece. Is this good? It also had recorded his conversation in Kiswahili with his team mates and his elders. There were not that many lobsters to catch. The times were hard and if anything had got worse. The elders were saying that not long ago one could pick up fifty lobsters in a day, day in day out.>> 

The eateries at Forodhani in Zanzibar mostly consist of mishikaki (roasted meat) & sea food stalls. There must be at least 10 to 12 such stalls. The sea food includes prawns, crabs, octopus and lobsters. They cater mostly for tourists who flock there in the evenings. Anybody who is fond of sea food will be tempted to see the display of garnished sea food on the table with lobsters taking the pride of place. Assuming every stall puts on sale 15 lobsters then it works out 180 besides daily supplies to hotels, restaurants and private homes. This just goes to show that fishermen catch quite a few lobsters but at the same time there is definitely a middleman involvement. 

Zanzibar seems infested with this bug of commercialism. It is swayed by the needs of tourists. Forodhani is no more what it used to be. The eateries target tourists and cater to their taste. Imagine nowadays they even sell curio stuff at Forodhani. You can see all sorts of things displayed there, and this is done on a large scale. Also every alternate shop on Portuguese Street deals in curios. The shops are run by Asians (Arabs & Indians) as well as Africans. The street has lost its old charm. It seems there are certain individuals behind this chain of business. Even their mode of salesmanship betrays the normal Zanzibari etiquette. The era of quality stuff, minimal margin and cordiality is forsaken to pave way for modern commercialism. 

The post revolution phase has also given boost to Darajani/Gambo trading mainly in garments, electronics and sundries. This business is again the monopoly of certain bigwigs who thrive through their overseas and mainland connections. The local demand has its limit. Presently Zanzibar is in the midst of festivities as it is Ramadhan, and Eid about to come. Darajani/Gambo enliven as shoppers gather there to make their purchases. Come mfungo mosi (the month proceeding Ramadhan) and the general public is fukara, the shopping has snatched every penny of theirs. The dreadful plight of Zanzibaris' false economy and its political gimmickry is the feature of their day to day life. 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                


Last updated November 2007 Copyright Abdulrazak Fazal 2007 - All Rights Reserved