A country afraid to grow up?

Boy running in Zanzibar City, Zanzibar

The next day, while sitting in Zanzibar Serena Hotel’s main restaurant overlooking the ocean, we noticed a solitary little boy, clad in the whites of a madrassa and carrying his school bag, dawdling along the beach. His body language suggested that he preferred gazing out to sea and playing on the beach rather than sitting in a classroom. Probably as captivated by the beauty of his island as we were, he stopped and gazed out to sea. We were unable to see his face but he appeared to be trapped in the moment, preferring present gratification to a future he was perhaps unable to visualise.

Boy on beach in Stone Town, Zanzibar

This unexpected drama seemed to allude to Zanzibar’s current state; a nation with so much potential which seems unsure of what it wants to be and afraid to grow up. Reports suggest that investment in Zanzibar’s tourism infrastructure continues to grow, albeit at a frustratingly slow and disorganised pace. However, controversial agreements with foreign developers are often at odds with local conservation efforts and distribution of tourism income to the local economy.

Sunset at Forodhani Gardens, Stone Town, Zanzibar

Time will tell if Zanzibar is able to find a balance between preserving its rich heritage and embracing its promising future. This is after all a part of Africa where everything happens ‘pole pole’ (slowly slowly).


Our accommodation in Stone Town was provided by Zanzibar Serena Hotels. For bookings, contact them on +255 24 223 3051 or visit their website. However all views expressed here are our own.


Stepping through history in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Co-Founders & Curators at HDYTI

Eulanda & Omo Osagiede are London-based freelance writers and award-winning social influencers who run the popular travel, food, and lifestyle blog HDYTI (Hey! Dip your toes in).