maanantai 22. heinäkuuta 2013

Swahili fashion gets more recognition in Zanzibar

I just received some great news today - the starting of Fashion Week Zanzibar. It will take place 25th to 26th of October in Zanzibar City.

I am a lover of swahili fashion. The traditional fabrics, khanga and kitenge, have so much potential for high fashion use. So do all the beautiful jewellery and other handicrafts made in the swahili speaking world.

Last February we had a small taste of how the coming swahili fashion week might look like, when there was a swahili fashion awards and show in Mbweni Ruins hotel.

Here are some (not so technically advanced) pictures from the happening.

swahili fashion dress and bag

swahili fashion dress and bag

swahili fashion coat dress

I will get back to you about this subject! Unofrtunately, I will not be able to attend fashion Week Zanzibar, but I will instead present you some beautiful designs by one of the founders, Farouque Abdela.

If you wish to get the best out of your visit to Fashion Week Zanzibar, contact travel agency Colors of Zanzibar for all the practical arrangements.

maanantai 6. toukokuuta 2013

Zedio starts with a women's project and welcomes volunteers!

For over a month now NGO called Zedio (Zanzibar Educational Improvement Organisation) has been regsitered and more or less running.

Don't let the title fool you – education is seen as a rather wide thing here. Our pilot project has tarted in Matemwe village, where we gave a chance for artisan women to take part in it. We start with a group of talented and inspired women.

Women from Matemwe at a field trip in Stone Town. With designer Farouque Abdela (left in the background) and Khamis Rashid from Colors of Zanzibar the women got familiar with different workshops and products made in Stone Town.

The aim of the pilot project is to help the women to develop their products and to sell them to local hotels, hotel shops and tourists. Designer Farouque Abdela is in charge of helping the group, and there couldn't be a better person for the job. He is one of the most well-known East African designers. Also founding members of this NGO are Colors of Zanzibar and Panga Chumvi Hotel.

If this pilot project goes well, we are looking forward to expand this program to other villages. We would also like to create more products. Right now the main products are bags made out of dried palm leaf carpet (mkeka). They are beautiful, but so much more could be done!

Bags made out of mkeka. Other ones are traditional, the one in the front in the middle is a Farouque Abdela design bag. See how many possibilities this material has!

At the moment Zedio is working only with donations from theq founder members. We wish to get some outside funding in the future (any suggestions are welcome :)

Also, we would more than appreciate any volunteers with expetise in handicrafts, design, project management, brand and product marketing... anything that could contribute! We know we could learn a lot from each other. And we will of course provide help with all the practical issues.

So if volunteering in Zanzibar is on your wish list, please contact us!

Email: info (at)
Also by emailing me or Colors of Zanzibar your message will be received by the right people.

torstai 10. tammikuuta 2013

The Future And Past of Colors of Zanzibar

Happy New Year!

This year Colors of Zanzibar starts it's third year in business and I was thinking to reflect a bit on what we've done and what to expect from the future.

Two years ago we were just a very excited young couple who had decided on starting a travel company. We had great dreams of changing tourism to be more culturally aware, to benefit locals and to empower women. Of course we also had a vision of being able to build a good, working, sustainable company.

In our newly opened office in the beginning of 2012!

In the beginning every enterpreneur has dreams that are un-realistic. We definitely thought things would go faster – and kinda also forgot the feared TIA factor (This Is Africa). But as I look back now, I'm very happy with the company we have built!

We have just opened a new tour in Matemwe Village. It's the third cultural village tour we have, and the best example of how easy it is to do good! Just by starting this tour we have encouraged women to merge their businesses, and the local school is happy for the donations every tour gives to them. Also the village tours make tourists and villagers to become closer and to learn to know each other, which is an important thing on an island where locals are not always sure if tourism benefits them in any way, or is it just taking their space and changing their culture.

Matemwe Village Tour, first group ever with the help of Panga Chumvi Beach Resort!

During these two years we have found a wonderful office for ourselves and made it to look like us. We have also found the best team to work with, and I couldn't be more thankful for the people we have in our lives and who care about Colors of Zanzibar!

What will the future bring?

We are preparing a Princess Salme Tour together with the Sayyida Salme Foundation, the best expert about Princess Salme and the royal life in Zanzibar. This will give tarvellers a glimpse to the Zanzibari court, wrapped around the famous story of a Zanzibari Princess who became the first published woman writer from Zanzibar in the 20th century.

Another big, big thing is the NGO we are starting! It will hopefully help with educational issues in Zanzibar, but more about that later. We are also starting a volunteering program hand in hand with another organisation, but also about that I will be able to tell more in just a bit. Just so you know – you can already ask about volunteering possibilities in Zanzibar, especially in arts or in the social sector.

I hope the future will bring a lot of good things for you all!