December 13, 2022
3 Min. Read

Living light and easy

Beach & country chic, made in Tanzania, is what Andrea Tapper envisaged for her house in Fumba. The editor of THE FUMBA TIMES opened her doors for us.

By staff writer

In the late afternoon, the sun paints golden circles on the carpet in the living room. “Just after five pm is the magic hour”, Andrea Tapper describes the atmosphere in her town house in Fumba. The last sun rays beam in, on-going construction noise is about to ease. Often, the editor of THE FUMBA TIMES still sits at the desk around this hour, researching and filing feature reports for various international newspapers and women’s magazines. Tapper is a busy woman. “The more important it is for me, to have a calming and soothing home”, she says. She found in Fumba Town.

“When I first came to Zanzibar ten years ago on an assignment for a women’s magazine, I immediately fell in love with the island”, she recalls. Especially Stone Town, the UNESCO-protected historic core of Zanzibar, with its Arabian palaces, Indian warehouses and narrow alleys,  caught the journalist’s attention who has written a book about the island (“From Zanzibar with Love, Orell Füssli Publishing). “For me Stone Town is like a mix of Marrakesh and Havanna, heavily dilapidated but rich in culture and heritage”, she says. Tapper decided to live right in the midst of it and has rented five different historic apartments in Kiponda, Maldindi and Vuga over the years – before eventually moving to Fumba. “In my last apartment in Hurumzi the balcony fell off, while I was living there. Luckily nobody was injured”, she remembers.

The lightness and airiness of Fumba, the modern white houses – there couldn’t be a bigger difference in architecture and lifestyle compared to Stone Town. “But now I am absolutely happy here”, Tapper says, adding with a smile, “although I never expected to become a suburban housewife. I have always lived in busy big city apartments and never had a house of my own in the greens.”

Speaking of which, “the permaculture landscaping of Fumba Town, the rich gardens, the canopy of fruit and decorative trees cooling down the settlement during hot days, and the mindful, well-organised collection and recycling of waste totally convinced me”, she says. Decoration-wise she opted for a fully locally made, modern vibe with most of the furniture coming from Green Room in Dar es Salaam. The Tanzanian company founded in 2009 by Elmarie van Heerden utilises driftwood, bespoke designs and a fusion of beach, country and urban chic. Inspiration is drawn from love of the ocean, nature and sunshine to create an innovative collection of home ware, furniture and fashion.

Complimented by art prints of island photographer Robin Batista, Tapper’s three bedrooms and living room indulge in pastel colours with natural wood bedframes, dining table and sofa set enhancing the warm and light touch. “I wanted it to look casual and natural but not rustic”, the mother-of-two explains, “with enough space for family visits”. She added a few Swahili side-tables, stools and a 1920 art-deco glass vitrine she found at Zanzibar Curio shop in Stone Town. A small Swahili desk with a tiny matching cabinet stems from antique dealer Mohammed in Gizenga Street. “We whitewashed the home office part”, Tapper explains, “to give it a lighter appearance” – a trick which works well with most Swahili furniture. 

How much time does the journalist, who previously lived and worked in Nairobi, spend in her new Zanzibar home? “I usually shift between Germany and Zanzibar, and do reporting assignments in other parts of the world in between”, she says – but the Zenj intervals seem to be getting longer. “Every time I get back, Fumba Town has grown and I have new neighbours”, Tapper says, “I just love the adventure of witnessing a whole town evolving right in front of your eyes.”

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