In the 21st Century when there is more focus on the advancement of science and technology, preserving the oral narratives or tradition is somewhere left behind. These narratives give us an insight about the history of a particular place. Different counties have diverse culture but most of these are interlinked to one other and over a course of time even the culture undergoes change. The most evident reason could be the impact of colonialism. The paper highlights how the reminiscence of slavery, cotton weaving, trade, fishing was practised and this takes us to explore the past living in a different time period.
It also focuses on the colonial rule and the mix culture, the discrimination faced by the Blacks in the hands of the Whites and the hardships of slavery.
While commenting on the article Say What You Like: Dress, Identity and Heritage in Zanzibar, it signifies dressing as a personality and control between the women of Zanzibar island. Kanga fabric is the main focus and a means of communication depicting its history.
It is said that Kangas is an integral part of rituals and social activities. It contributes to an intangible heritage of Zanzibar through oral history, art, social commentary and concepts of beauty. Traditionally the people of this island made use of monsoons to participate in trade and to socialise with other countries. Small fishing village of Shangani grew rapidly in terms of commercial trade and this is evident through architecture, language and customs.
Later Portuguese conquered Zanzibar and tried to assert their religion and customs on the people.
Use of Portuguese words in Swahili and the persistence of some Portuguese culinary remained as an influence on this people. The Omani Arabs ousted the Portuguese and their main power was sustained through the organization of slavery, cultivation of spices and the dictatorial control of the black population. The East African slaves changed the island into a compound, multicultural society and the most fruitful clove plantations in the world. (Boswell, Scents of identity: Fragrance as heritage in Zanzibar, 2008) There was a dispute faced by the heritage regime was that of managing its mixed cultural resources.
Cultivation of seaweeds for cosmetics, particularly facial masks and body creams gave the poor women in Zanzibar a source of revenue by cultivating these plants. In Zanzibar dressing indicated power, ethnicity, origins, class mobility and gender. This dressing is not only socio-economic unity but is also organising and political entity. African traders used cloth strips as currency. The preservation of heritage was focused by UNESCO, while locals demands were on indigenous knowledge and practices. Monuments and archaeological sites hub was increasing and were identified as tangible heritage of the island. In the beginning of the twentieth century remarkable change were held in Zanzibar, a point when the economic, social, and political lives of the residents were change and was framed by the abolition of slavery. (Fair, 2003)
They started to identify themselves as Swahili and hence occupied a more socially prestigious position in Zanzibar. The colour of Kangas remained important which indicated culture stability between mainland and island colour symbolism. This fabric signifies that there are 100 of slogans, riddles, proverbs, etc are printed on the bottom-centre of the fabric. It evokes all kinds of emotions, impart information, encourage humour and so on. It provides as clothing for both young and old, thus increasing kangas sociality. The outsiders use this fabric in the ways that are culturally important to them. Various factors influenced the price of Kanga. Social and political identities changes took place in the early 20th century in relation to islanders. Kanga fabrics propose contact to global culture and also national identity. (Boswell, Say what you like: dress, identity and heritage in Zanzibar, 2006)
Indian textiles at Mozambique Island in the Mid- Eighteenth Century, focuses on the history of Indian textiles in the commercial system. The author focuses into the chain relation connecting Gujarat in north-western Indian to East-Central and South-East Africa. The next focus is on markets for Indian cloth in East, east central and south-east Africa and African prefer products of cloth from India and particular from Gujarat. Machado categorize the major kind of trade cloths trade in from Gujarat the central and southern reaches of East Africa. Two main goods dominated all other trade in Mozambique were cloth and beads.
Diverse textiles were trade in to Mozambique from India. The trade between India and Mozambique was completely dominated by the Portuguese. The minute the trade reached the island, it was then divided. The people of Mozambique brought directly from the Gujarati merchants the unrestricted textiles. Cloths were shipped overseas from Diu, which was a major port. Porto Novo was well known for indigo trade to West Africa and Bengal. In India, the naming of the textiles was greatly localised; but as the export of trade cloth carried on the names kept changing along the way. Mostly Indian cloth was shipped to Mozambique was proposed for exchange with Africans. (A.Alpers, 2017)
The Mozambique Island is on African-Indian Ocean coast. The Swahili people built the cities on this island. They shared a common trait of existing from trade (such as vegetables, cloth, and firewood) and knew the art of navigation. The male members of this island were mostly involved in fishing. The appearance of churches could be seen on the island through the influence of Portuguese colonial rule. The forts on this island represent the rule of the earlier colonisers. The Museum of Mozambique Island presents archaeological exploration and presents numerous vessels of Chinese culinary and also depicts some symbols of pottery, which represents Indian art. Presence of joint family is witnessed in Mozambique. (Azevedo, 2010)
Colonialism is one of the most important reasons which led to the emergence of mix culture and hence there was cultural hybridism. Mozambique Island and Zanzibar share some common aspects to that of the Indian country. This could be seen mostly due to the trade which took place between these two countries and India, through the Indian Ocean. Due to the Portuguese colonial rule, cotton fabric and its trade became widely popular. Goa experienced the longest colonial rule of Portuguese and slavery was practised in Goa along with trade of cotton. African slaves were bought and sold in Panjim- Goa and the Indian Ocean was the route to transport slaves from Africa to Goa.
Pottery was practised in India and similarly it is also observed in Mozambique museums, this symbolises that pottery trade also took place between these countries. The existence of oral history is present in these countries and this gives the readers a sense of the traditional aspects of the place. It also portrays that memories are an integral part of oral history.