While I was exploring Stone Town on the Island of Zanzibar, Tanzania, I walked by The Anglican Christ Church Cathedral…
and saw that it was the former slave market site. It was only a few dollars to view it and there were a number of guys standing around offering to give tours, so I asked one of the men how much he charged. He said he worked for tips…whatever I wanted to give…so off I went for a tour!
The tour lasted about 20 minutes. First we walked through the church and he explained that since slavery had been abolished in the States in 1863 and it wasn’t abolished in Zanzibar until 1873, for those 10 years, the slaves were shipped to other countries other than the U.S., such as Dubai and other Middle Eastern countries. While researching for this post, I found information that is contrary to what my tour guide gave. Actually, slavery wasn’t completely abolished in the U.S. until 1865 and in Zanzibar until 1897. There was a treaty signed with Britain to suppress slavery in Zanzibar in 1873.
This is the interior of the church…
Here is an underground area where the slaves were kept. The guide said as many as 50 women and children were in this one room where they slept. This area had a palatable sadness. Seeing the shackles and trying to imagine living in these conditions left an imprint!
The last country in Africa to abolish slavery was Niger in 1960. Even then it wasn’t illegal until 2003. From 1960 until 1981 slavery was abolished in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Mauritania, respectively. I was surprised by this.
Although slavery is illegal in all nations, it still exists, or forms of it, throughout the world!
- African Postman: The Legacy of Slavery in Zanzibar, Tanzania (petchary.wordpress.com)
- My Little Friend from Zanzibar (ireport.cnn.com)
- I’ll come back to Zanzibar… (thehindu.com)