January 5, 2022
2 Min. Read

The hakuna matata man

Nobody has seen Fumba Town evolve better than Omar Makame Simai, the longest-serving employee here.

Residents love him, the staff at the Kwetu Kwenu restaurant kiosk couldn’t do without him and the bosses are simply very fond of him. Omar Makame Simai who started out in housekeeping and worked himself up the ranks into the town management team of Fumba Town, is a handyman in the best sense. Whether a water metre needs adjusting, an electrical supply line or disagreements between neighbours have to be sorted, the 41-year-old family man and father of four children is ready to solve any problem.

Just how did he become such a diplomat? “I just feel very attached to Fumba Town and to everybody here”, Simai says, “maybe because I have seen it grow from nowhere.” The maintenance expert has been working in Fumba long before the very first house was built and remembers: “We counted the trees of local residents for compensation when the area was marked for development”. Fumba then was nothing but harsh corals and thick bush. “Nobody believed we would build a town here, not the villagers and not the European visitors”, he says. 

Then came the first show house around 2015, events like markets and concerts, and curiosity took over. At that point Simai had already made friends with fishermen and villagers around, always showing an open ear to hear their concerns. With his help a mosque near the shore was repaired and renovated; villages received new wells and water tanks, and soon the first hardware and paint supply shops opened in neighbouring Nyamanzi. For Omar Makame Simai nothing else would make sense: “In Zanzibar we believe in community”, says the man for whom loyalty begins at home: “Good relations are important.” Activities, he knows, can propel anybody ahead: “When we are planting palm trees and building jettys, fishermen can start dhow tours, we will all win.” And when asked what his working hours are, he simply laughs: “Hakuna matata, call me and I’ll be there.”

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