Thursday, February 24, 2011

African island video, "Leopards of Zanzibar" / Zanzibar Island - Tanzania

National Geographic, "Leopards of Zanzibar"

Swahili culture:
Somalia to Mozambique along the Indian Ocean. A cross-roads for men from China, Persia, Arbia. This is a region of ancient trading routes: men grew wealthy handling spices, ivory, slaves.

Swahili is a blend of Arabic, European and tribal words, Kiswahili is both a language and a name for the blended culture.

The people traditionally fish along the coral reef which surrounds their coastline. They cut the coral to make houses out of the stony material.
Coral is a slow-growing organism but this coast is historically rich in coral polyps.

Today the women are harvesting seaweed in the shallows. Cosmetics, toothpaste and beer are among the products that include elements made from this seaweed.

The principal character, Issa, makes his living as a free diver. He spends some 7 hrs a day in the water. He can dive as deep as 50 feet and stay under 3 mins at a time. His principal commodity is the edible octopus.

In this video Issa faces several challenges. One is how to bring his soccer team (soccer was introduced by the English in the mid 1800's) to the playoffs on the mainland. The second is how to make the money to pay the team's expenses.

His breakthrough concerns a fishing stratagem. He moves from spearing octopus to luring lobster.

Map -
- Tanzania
- Dar es Salaam
- Kenya
- Nairobi
- Indian Ocean
- palm trees
- dhows