After a great Spice Tour visit I decided to get a little more cultural and learn some more about the history of Tanzania. So with a guide I visited the Anglican Church which used to be the site of the slave market in Zanzibar. More specifically, it was a slave market used by the Portuguese and the Arabs to sell slaves and then when the British came they closed the slave market and in it’s place put a church as a way to change the karma of the site. I had a really good guide who was happy to answer all of the questions I had. What struck me most was the following:
- The extend to which Africans sold other Africans into slavery was much wider than I thought. Warring tribes would sell each other off to foreigners who were only too willing to receive them.
- Red tiles around the altar which was placed where the tree was used to sell and/or hang slaves
- The baptism bowl was located at the spot (in the back of the church which is atypical because it is usually in the front) where slave children used to be killed who weren’t strong enough to be sold for work
- The tomb of the Bishop who drove for the closure of the market and construction of the Church.
- The place where they kept up to 125 slaves in a place where you could only literally fit 40 people overall
- The monument that was build to remember the old slave site.
After our trip to the church, we spent another hour walking around Stone Town, visiting the different markets, and learning more about the location and history. Stone Town – a world heritage site – has lots of beautiful doors which have Arabic and Indian influences. We also stopped by “Jaws Corner” which is named that way because it means that people stop there for conversation and talking. Finally we stopped by the location where Freddy Mercury (of Queen) was born. It was a really good way to spend 3 hours 🙂