Welcome to the Spice Islands

Stonetown Alleyway

The Slave Memorial

ZANZIBAR xxxxxxxI knew that when I arrived in Zanzibar I wanted to explore Stonetown, take a spice tour, and try out some Zanzibari cuisine. Stonetown (the oldest section of Zanzibar City) was unique. The Arab flavor reminded me of Morocco's medinas with narrow winding roads, spice shops, ornate doors, balconies, and lots of delicious smells. What made it different was that it was Arab culture with black people. True, the Zanzibaries were a mix of black, Arab, Indian, and European blood, but it still was very black.

In the late afternoon, I tried another stroll, this time with a map. I didn't get totally lost like I did earlier in the day, but I didn't manage to find any of the antique shops either. However, someone - on something - found me and guided me a while - whether I wanted it or not. He did take me to the old slave market. That was sobering (at least for me, not him) and something that shouldn't be missed while in Zanzibar. A landmark sculpture of five slaves in a pit used actual chains from the slave days.

Mankind's inhumanity to other people left me silenced. I read that slave women carried ivory as well as their young children from the African interior to the coast. If they became too weak, the children were killed to lighten the load. Once upon the boats to Zanzibar, if a slave appeared sick and weak, he was tossed overboard. That way the slave traders didn't have to pay any taxes for them upon arrival. They were whipped, beaten, and starved in order to get rid of any weak slaves. It was impossible to comprehend the pain, humiliation, and suffering involved.

Copyright 2001 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.