Jill's African Adventure
* Rafting the Nile
* Murchison Falls
* A Day in The Life
* Hell's Gate
* Nairobi and Around (Part 2)
* Nairobi and Around (Part 1)
* A Dhow Trip From Lamu
* Watamu: Ruins, Monkeys, Shrews, and Jellyfish
* Hiking in Lushoto
* Changing E-mail Address
* The Problems of Itete
* Village Life
* Hanging Out in Dar
* Zanzibar - Music Festival & Prison Island
* Zanzibar (Jozani Forest & Jambiani)
* Zanzibar (Stone Town & Spice Tour)
* Future Plans
* Safari!!! (Part 7 - Mikumi Park)
* Safari!!! (Parts 5 & 6 -- Rodent and Itete)
February 22, 2005
Zanzibar - Music Festival & Prison Island
My timing for going to Zanzibar was quite good because there was an African music festival (Sounds of Wisdom) going on the last few days I was there. The festival was excellent. When I first got to the fest I wasn't all that into the band that was playing, but the next band up was an Egyptian band, which was awesome and which really brought up the energy level of the festival a whole ton and even got people up and dancing. The next group was a traditional African (Bantu, I believe) group. And well, there is nothing quite like seeing people wearing traditional outfits and make-up playing electric guitars. The group also had some women dancers with them who really managed to catch the attention of the audience... The evening ended when the power went out around 1:30 am. Everything went pitch black and the starts suddenly became clear. Everyone cleared out remarkably quickly, apparently with no hope that the power would be restored anytime soon. (If fact it took probably about a half hour for the power to come back in. It came back on just as I had gotten back to my room, found my flashlight, and pressed the on button.) The next couple days of the festival were also excellent. Well, one night wasn't so great because it was mostly modern music which basically meant African rappers trying to imitate American rappers. The most interesting part of that evening was watching the audience reaction to one group, called Waunume, which I believe is actally the most popular group in Tanzania right now. Needless to say the mostly sedate crowd went crazy when they were introduced.
An extra added bonus of the music fest was that Woody (safari guide) came out with one of his friends, so I got to see someone I knew and to meet some people living in Dar, which was excellent. It was great hanging out with everyone and now I even have people to visit whenever I end up back in Dar. In fact, one of the women, Corry, is also on a gluten-free diet and knows where the health food store in Dar is.
On the last day of the festival, Corry, Woody, and I took a boat out to what was once called Prison Island (and is still referred to as such). There are (well, were) two main things to see on the island: the tortoises and the ruins of an old slave prison. The tortoises were neat to watch. They were about 90 adults (a couple about 100 or 150 years old) and about 30 babies. The older adults were huge - there was no chance of anyone picking them up, as one sign prohibited people from doing. Although they were big enough to sit on, a the other sign prohibited people from doing. The babies were amazingly small - only about 3 or 4 inches long.
After looking at the tortoises we went to go look at the prison ruins. We were told, however, that the island was now private and that the prison was being renovated/ restored and was being turned into a bar and/or restaurant for the exclusive resort that was being built on the island. The upshot of this was that we were not allowed to go see the ruins. But this did not stop us. We walked along the beach and saw some of the ruins from below, but kept walking until we saw a staircase up the cliffs. Well, it used to be a staircase. The bottowm few steps were at this point just a slope. Woody climbed up and Corry and I followed. We walked back along the path and snuck into the prison ruins. Corry had been there before and said that they had rebuilt a lot of the walls and taken down the chains, but it was concluded that it probably looked pretty much the same as it had originally. Still, it just somehow doesn't seem right turning an old slave prison into a restaurant/bar for rich people...
Posted by Jillian on February 22, 2005 06:50 AM
Category: East Africa
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