A four-day-long celebration, Mwaka Kogwa is best observed at Makunduchi, a village in the south part of Zanzibar. The origins of this holiday are Zoroastrian (a Persian religion older than Islam). It is a celebration of the New Year and some of the events include huge bonfires and mock fights. These fights are between men who defend themselves with banana stems (in place of the sticks that were formerly used), and this fighting, in which everyone gets a chance, is said to let everyone air their grievances and so clear the air as the new year rolls in.
As the men fight, the women stroll through the fields singing songs about life and love. They are dressed in their best clothes and are taunted by the men after the fight is over. The festivities vary from village to village but Makunduchi is where the biggest events take place. All are welcome for the festival because it is a local belief that anyone without a guest for this holiday is unhappy. The Mwaka Kogwa festival takes place at the end of July.
Zanzibar International Film Festival
ZIFF presents the annual Festival of the Dhow Countries during the first two week of July. The festival celebrates the arts and cultures of the African Continent, the Gulf States, Iran, India, Pakistan and the islands of the Indian Ocean, collectively known as the Dhow countries. The centrepiece of the festival is a film programme consisting of both competition and non-competition screenings. Fiction and documentary film and video productions compete for Golden and Silver Dhow Awards. While competition films are limited to productions with Dhow country connections, the festival programme includes films/videos from all over the world addressing themes which reflect concerns within the Dhow countries.
The main festival venues are Ngome Kongwe (The Old Fort) and Beit el-Ajaib (House of Wonders) in historic Stone Town, Zanzibar. Activities and events include music, theatre and dance performances, workshops and exhibitions. A large Music programme also runs for the festival featuring artists from Tanzania alongside international acts. Many of these events are staged in Forodhani Gardens and free to the public. There are also workshops and seminars for women and children, and Village Panoramas which reach about forty villages across the Zanzibar islands of Unguja and Pemba.
ZIFF is undoubtedly the most prestigious and exciting cultural event of its kind in East Africa. For further information, contact:
ZIFF, P.O.Box 3032, Zanzibar,
Tel: 255 (4) 747 411499.
Web site: www.ziff.or.tz
International Triathlon & Marathon
Sport tourism is off with a bang in Zanzibar with the Annual International Triathlon and Marathon events scheduled to take place in early November. Over the past years, both events have been successful in drawing participants from East Africa, Asia and Europe. Both the Triathlon and the Marathon are Olympic distances and take place in some of Zanzibar's finest locations.
Information concerning participation in either of these events can be obtained from The Secretary, Zanzibar International Marathon Committee, P.O. Box 1410, Zanzibar.