Africa  | 04/05/2017

Dhows Cruising ZANZIBAR

Dhow construction, the traditional boats of Zanzibar island, continues to be carried out today, in an artisan way. The art of building them, which the Arabs call Al Qalafa, has its origin in the southern Persian Gulf and from there extended to the Swahili coast, transmitting this tradition among carpenters of the Mafia archipelago, in Zanzibar or in Lamu, already in Kenya.

The canoes are constructed with the mango tree trunk, caulking with soft natural kapok (a type of cotton) impregnating in coconut oil, the small spaces between table and table. The board is waterproofed with a nauseating shark fat called mafuta ya papa. A small mast with cotton candles is raised, while all the ropes are made by braiding coconut fiber, and finally a board outside the helmet that serves as a seesaw.

In its construction is worked for months, with a single feature of modernity, the use of nails instead of the braided palm fiber. The boats are assembled in the shade of sheds of mats and are worked with rope drills, brushes and clamps.

Every year in Stone Town, the best dhow crews are challenged in regattas during the Tamasha Ziff Festival of the Dhow Countries, a demonstration of the Swahili culture and traditions that takes place in July and August.



El Elefante de SUDAFRICA

Agosto 2017

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