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Updated: Jan 24, 2023

Three Masai men in bright red robes against a cloud sky.
Photo by Gavin Poh on Unsplash

. . .

Hakuna Matata (no problem) is not only Tanzania’s single most used expression that perfectly reverberates the country’s ubiquitous ease. But it’s also a joyous melody continuously sailing off the Tanzanian lips — a warm welcome to a color-insane land where nothing ever seems to be a problem.

Hakuna Matata

And there is Zanzibar. A tiny island in the Indian Ocean with a ridiculously adorable name which melts on your tongue like a delightful sweet course. Followed by an eerie riot of colors to ravish the eye and seduce the soul. Though the daring hues and patterns of the locals’ headscarves and attire can be a provocation that initially strains most Westerners’ sense of color ethics. But, the irritation doesn’t take long to vanish. Instead, a thought begins to shape — perhaps plaid, striped and floral designs go together quite beautifully.

Hakuna Matata

On most days, the sun keeps streaming down from a cloudless sky, inundating the ocean in zillion indescribable dyes of turquoise or a tint that yet needs to be anointed. Her glittering beams joyfully tiptoe across the ocean floor, which lifts itself to the surface daily — much to the delight of crab hunters and water wimps. It’s the tides that rule the course of life and that of fishing, too. No one asks unnecessary questions — because that’s how it’s always been, and that’s how it will forever be.

Hakuna Matata

Nothing stands in the way of the pungent easterly piercing every corner of this gorgeous island. It keeps a firm grip on some of Zanzibar’s rare winter months, a time when the lush coconut palms sway back and forth menacingly, dropping their fuzzy fruits off as and when they please. One is hard enough to knock a strong man down if it smacks him in the right spot … but hey!

Hakuna Matata

The Maasai are part of Zanzibar. Their unusual cloaks provide the fabric for great shots and ingenious stories. For a few shillings, these young fellas candidly share chunks of their tribe’s life way back on the mainland — behind Dar es Salaam at the edge of Tanzania’s mindboggling game parks. On Zanzibar they trade their tribal life for a while. For a pair of bright yellow plastic slippers and a shack on one of the island’s many beaches. Where they hawk their precious highland souvenirs — carved, woven, or sewn. Visitors are few and far between these days, as is a tribesman’s income.

Hakuna Matata

A few isolated crabs are heading toward the shimmering ocean with the housing on their back. And in some nearby trees, a bunch of giggling monkeys is thievishly enjoying their loot of nicked cashew nuts. Sinewy fishermen jointly haul in their solemn nets while the golden-rimmed sun starts skating over the horizon's edge. Beautiful and simple. A day like any other.

Hakuna Matata

Keep singing Hakuna Matata with all your heart, and know you’ve got mine.

Thank you for joining me and for your precious time!


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