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EAST AFRICA PHOTOS - Dec 2004 - Jan 2005
Provided By: Jaffer Manek FCCA FCEA
Director, Affilica International

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Travel notes and photos - KSI Nawi Masjid and the Old Dispensary

Fri Dec 31, 2004

Yesterday walking in Stone Town. I was admiring the old wooden doors.

Arabic style door (chain etching in borders and large studs)

Indian style door (plainer look)

I found this cat sleeping at the entrance of a small retail shop in the alleys.
I said to the owner "Na ooza pakka wilele" (You even sell cats!).
He was laughing but could not reply. Point! Boom boom! Give me five!

I walked past a mosque opposite the Sultan's Hamam Baths. The writing on the mosque wall mentioned Ahlul-Bayt. I surmised that is the other Khoja Shia Ishna-Asheri mosque. I enquired and it was confirmed. I went last night for maghrib prayers and read my translation of Dua Kumail and Ya-Sinn. There were hardly eight persons there.

Men's entrance - see the writing on the wall

Approach from a narrow street

Entrance door with staircase to Imambara upstairs
Straight and behind the staircase is the kitchen

First floor for woozo and the door to the left is the prayer hall

Minaret for the muazin (now served by a loud speaker)

The mirhab as you enter the prayer hall - notice the tall wooden ceiling supported by large wooden beams

A very old mimber - anyone know how old it is?

I went again today for lunchtime Jumma prayers. The khutba (sermon) was in Kiswahili by a young preacher. There were three full lines of people for prayers, mostly Kiswahili.

It is called "Nawi Masjid" the KSI New Mosque, built about 1899. But it is more run down than the well maintained "Jooni Masjid" the KSI Old Mosque, built about 1895. The Nawi Masjid needs a lot of repairs and maintenance. One Khoja gentleman showed me around.

The men's section. Women's section is behind the partition wall

Closer look at the mimber in men's section

Mimber with zarri in ladies section
(zarri is depiction of shrines of the prophet's descendants who were all oppressed by the tyrants of the day)

mimber in ladies section

closer look at the zarri

A traditional straw musalla (prayer mat) folded and hanging on the wall

This side hall was originally the ladies section. Now it is in disuse since most KSI people left Zanzibar

A wynch and bucket to pull up large saucepans (sufuriya) of food cooked in kitchen on ground floor
It is placed in the large bowl held by the rectangular-shaped frame

Looking in the opposite direction from the wynch is the staircase going down to ground floor
Ahead on the same floor is the entrance to men's imambara hall i.e. assembly hall

The wynch is to the left after the hand wash basin

I climbed up the stairs in the tall minaret tower all the way to the top and
was rewarded with fabulous roof top views.

The green canopy is the Emerson & Green restaurant

Bayat ul Ajayb at the far end

Catholic Church in the far end

Anglican Church tower
In the distance is a modern apartment block built by East German communists

KSI Nawi Masjid Entrance door - men's section

KSI Nawi Masjid Entrance door - women's section

What does this inscription above the entrance door say?
Can anyone translate for me?

That kind person also showed me the Musafarkhana (Traveller's hostel) but that building is boarded up as it could collapse any time. What a shame about the original doors, architecture and the history. The current widhwa-ashram or baywaa-khanna (widows' residence) is occupied downstairs by some people but upstairs is for travellers. However, the conditions are very basic and visitors from Europe and N. America would not find it easy to stay there. I suggested the do a six monthly flea-market to sell/auction unwanted household goods to raise money; but that needs leadership - who will do it?

I had a nice vegetarian thali for lunch at Radha's. They offer more food until you have eaten enough.

Tonight they say there will be fireworks at Foradhani sea front at midnight to celebrate the New Year. Look forward to it. No fireworks happened, some say it wa for security reasons as elections are ten months away.

Restored dispensary and sunlight filtering through coloured glass

Balcony overlooking the inner quadrangle

The original owner of this building, Tharia Topan, is in the middle in back row

Sat Jan 1, 2005 8:30 am

Wishing everyone on EAcircle a Happy and Prosperous New Year. The New Year in the Islamic calendar is the first day of the month of Muhurrum. It is not celebrated by Muslims since the martyrdom of Imam Husein in Kerbala, the grandson of Prophet Muhammed. The tragedy of that martyrdom is unsurpassed in known human history. The Ummayad dynasty got removed and the new year remains uncelebrated.
Dear Mehbub,

As they say in Gujarati, being in "Wunn" (ekawunn, bawunn, punchawunn, sutawunn, uthawunn) in the fifties is critical time for death. I am taking time off to relax in ho0t weather, sleep in the afternoon and generally do very little. Fortunately my business allows me to take time off in winter and so I travel to the tropics.

I shall read sura Ya-sinn after Sultan Davdani. We should all re-assess our life styles. Eat garlic and honey daily. Stay off cigarettes. Otherwise we are in hands of Allah and we all have to go to our creator one day sooner or later.

I move off to Mombasa on Monday - catching a 45 minutes flight. Shall write some of my impressions from there.

Stone Town in Unguja Island of Zanzibar is safe to walk at night. The street lighting is available widely as is clean tap water. Not so in Dar es Salaam where it is dark, danger on streets and also holes in pavements to trip.


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Last updated January  2008 Copyright Mahmood Fazal 2005 - All Rights Reserved Created By Husain Fazal