It’s a balmy evening in Stone Town, August 2017, and I meet Heather Chontos, an artist from the USA, and her 2 daughters for the first time. They are incredibly friendly, open and excited to be here.
Hamad (Director of CACZ) and I had been to Nafasi Arts Space, in Dar es Salaam, earlier in the year and discussed with their team that we are eager to welcome artists from not only East Africa, but across the globe, to share their arts experiences and meet up with Zanzibari artists.
One week ago: We were sitting in the Cultural Arts Centre when Tourguide Farid followed by a group of tourists entered the gallery. Today he didn’t only have interesting facts about the Arts Centre, but also told us about his self-organised Bread, or Mikate (Kiswahili for Bread) Party which should take place at the 8th of October. We were cordially invited. After handing us a flyer he continued his tour and dissappeard among the alleys of Stone Town.
The whole group jumps as suddenly the leaves far above our heads rustle. Looking up I can barely see the tail of a red monkey disappear behind the huge leaves of a palm tree. I hurry to get my camera out of the backpack and try to catch one of the agile little animals jumping from tree to tree but they always manage to hide away from my lens. It is a beautiful spectacle that you get to see walking through the Masingini Forest Reserve just north of Zanzibar-City.
Have you ever seen a sea so turquoise that it seems to be illuminated? Well that’s what it looks like in Jambiani. And within that beautiful scenery there is a festival every year. This year’s Jambiani Beach and Watersports Festival took place last weekend and we went to see the activities and information they offered.
Last Saturday we, that’s the SEA team together with Abdulla and Naima from JMJV, went to the Practical Permaculture Institute (PPI) to learn more about composting. This knowledge we intend to use primarily to improve the compost production at the Vikokotoni Environment Society (JMJV).
One of our longest term partners is the Cultural Arts Centre – where Zanzibari artists and Artisans work, exhibit and sell their artworks!
For our first blog in this new series, I’d love to tell you a little more about Hamad, the Director here, who’s also an artist, a craftsman, and about the incredible work that’s been done at CACZ.
As you can see there hasn’t been much going on here on the Blog until now but we’re about to change that. Sustainable East Africa is here to support local initiatives on Zanzibar strengthening social, cultural, environmental and economic sustainability. Using this blog we want to stay true to our vision, highlighting and sharing many of those interesting sustainable projects – some of which we’ve had the honour of sharing with, and some not yet!
Explore the town in a different way. The environment and architecture of Stone Town is unique and special – and the artisans and artists of Zanzibar play an essential and intriguing role in creating and maintaining a vibrant and beautiful city. See the places you might never otherwise see – meet the artisans who are restoring and up-cycling, using creativity and crafts old and new.
In Unguja and Pemba – the islands of Zanzibar – we are surrounded by water – and the monsoons bring us fresh water every season. We love our water – but we have our fair share of water problems too!
For World Water Day 2015, the Creative Festival of Water will celebrate the water we have, the water we’d like and what people are doing across the islands of Zanzibar to achieve this.