March 8, 2022
1 Min. Read

Historic school becomes a souk

The historic Darajani school has become a market: historian Parmukh Singh fears forever.

Consumerism beats education. “It’s a shame”, says longtime parliamentarian Parmukh Singh Hoogan, 66, who is advocating for the preservation of the historic Darajani Boys School. It was here that Nobel Prize winner Abdulrazak Gurnah learnt his ABC before his departure from Zanzibar in the late 60s.

Recently, the arched building in soft earth and light blue colours has turned from a learning institution into a busy shopping centre. Former classrooms are occupied by kaftan sellers; traders of all kinds display soaps, underwear and cooking pots in and around the school. Its students were transferred to Mkunazini school. 

Singh’s grandfather, colonial architect Ajit Singh designed the school between 1946 and 1954. He was one of the most prominent architects of historic Zanzibar and built Zanzibar’s Mnazi Moja hospital and science museum, among others.

Under Zanzibar’s conservation laws, the school is protected from demolition, as is indeed the entire area opposite the Darajani food market, a so-called buffer zone of historical Stone Town. In the meantime it has been largely fenced off and billboards announce a “Darajani commercial souk” to be built here, in what looks like a semi-traditional design.

One might argue that an ever-growing population needs larger markets, but “don’t we need education more than we need malls?” asks Parmukh Singh. “With ever more shops they are just choking the city”, criticises the historian, who belongs to the micro-minority of Indian Sikhs in Zanzibar. For him the re-purposing of the school means “not valuing historic Zanzibar”.  

Related Articles

March 31, 2021
3 mins.

Two Fumbas - One Idea

Find out all about new exciting seaside developments just outside Zanzibar city It’s all happening on the Fumba peninsula: Two major real estate developments creating modern living space with holiday flats and permanent family homes near the overcrowded capital. By ANDREA TAPPER Both aspiring seaside communities, started in 2015/16, fascinate locals as well as a […]
read more
April 29, 2022
2 mins.

All set for Ramadan

Holiest month in Islamic calendar in Zanzibar Cooking during Ramadan: Alfreeda Bozen (photo) has prepared a special iftar dish for us Ramadan (also: Ramadhan), a month-long period of fasting from sunrise to sunset, and opulent iftar meals at night, is for Muslims all over the world a festive and contemplative time. Depending on the sighting […]
read more
March 17, 2022
2 mins.

The cosy home of Mr. Mwatawala

A bar counter on the balcony. An airy open kitchen. A feeling of space in a tiny two-bedroom – how an architect worked miracles in his Fumba apartment. Aaaah, finally on holiday! The apartment of Shabani Mwatawala, an architect from Dar, certainly feels like a 5-star hotel room. From his bedroom, from the living room […]
read more
March 8, 2022
1 min.

Cute family oasis in Mbweni

Tupomoja is a different kind of café and just the right spot to relax with your children Two best friends from the mainland came to Zanzibar with a dream of one day owning their own cafe. After seven years of working for its former owner, Saumu Mohamed and Fatma Juma made their dream come true […]
read more

Are you looking for a property in Zanzibar?

25 essential questions and answers to buy property in Zanzibar

Whatsapp Us