Christ Church, Zanzibar

We learn that a church, Christ Church has been built over the Slave market in an attempt to create something positive over something so negative. The church is being restored.  John notices that the scaffolding is not even close to code.  We think of how protected we are in Canada and how here are senses are sharper, we are sharper, more aware as Darwin’s theory is clearly in play.

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Many people were against slavery and worked hard to end this practice.  Chief among them were explorer, David Livingstone and the third Anglican Bishop of Zanzibar, Edward Steele.  The church was built to celebrate the end of slavery.  Steele contributed much to its design, but sadly he died just before it was completed.   He is buried behind the altar. The altar, is said to be in the exact place where the whipping post stood. Inside the church there is a cross that was made from the wood of the Mvula tree.  This tree is located in another part of Africa and it is where Livingstone’s heart is buried.

Edward Steele's grave
Edward Steele’s grave

The history is sad and the area feels oppressive.  The church makes up for it somewhat and hearing that people worked hard to abolish what was certainly a lucrative business helps.  Still, I’m always surprised by man’s inhumanity.  When I learn these sad truths I look for beauty to balance the ugly.  Perhaps this is what Edward Steele was also thinking.  I find some beautiful flowers and look for the beauty in the church and happily snap away  Beauty, its always there, sometimes we just need to look a little closer.

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Published by

cherylsmit

Writing and photography are my first and second loves and thanks to technology I have the ability to share with a larger audience, including family and friends. Gone are the days of lugging around photo albums after a trip and of keeping a written journal of the experience that only I would view. The days of the handwritten letters are gone, but blogging provides a chance to share ideas, thoughts and photographs with a few mouse clicks and to receive instant feedback from around the world. It provides an opportunity to research a new place and to see that place through the eyes of a multitude of people each with their own unique way of viewing and experiencing the world. It opens the world wide and allows us a front row seat. Blogging connects us and creates a family of support. It provides an outlet and a chance to perfect the craft of writing and story telling. When I sit in my living room drinking my coffee and see that someone from another part of the world has read my words, and then I read theirs, the world is much smaller and more attainable. We are more alike than different as we share uniquely human experiences. Once I had a dream of becoming a Journalist, but somehow life got in the way. I currently have a fantastic career in healthcare and know that I have made a difference so I have no regrets. Still, I wonder if there is time to explore the road less travelled?

4 thoughts on “Christ Church, Zanzibar”

  1. Its interesting to see how Christianity or religion tries to make amends for something it was also involved in promoting i.e. African peoples were “lower” that Europeans. How beautiful and ugly can be flip sides of the same coin. I wonder if we could appreciate beauty if we did not see or know sadness or ugliness?

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    1. Very true. In this case the bishop was instrumental in ending slavery in East Africa. It only takes one in some cases to open hearts and minds. I also agree with your statement about truly appreciating beauty when we have seen ugly. I think it’s why I was drawn to take photos of something pretty after spending time in the place. I hadn’t thought about this before though now that I think, I’ve done this many times.

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