The Dhow as cultural icon
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A person strolling through Zanzibar’s historic Stone Town would hardly be able to walk ten minutes without running into a dhow reference of some sort. There is a Dhow Palace Hotel that was, until the opening of the Serena, the island’s most posh hotel. There are “Dhow” restaurants. Shops catering to tourists sell dhow tee shirts and post cards and models of dhows exhibiting varying degrees of workmanship. One of the dive shops takes its customers out in a motor dhow. The new House of Wonders Museum has as its centerpiece a full size dhow, which is surrounded by numerous models of other vessels and displays about the history of maritime trade in East Africa. The biggest cultural event of the year in Zanzibar is the Dhow Countries Festival, a cultural event that includes music, dance, visual arts, and films that derive from the countries of the western Indian Ocean rim. Farther north in the Kenyan city of Mombassa, the Tamarind Restaurant runs a nightly cruise around the harbor in a dhow that has been fitted out as a floating restaurant. Tourists in Mombassa often visit the dhow harbor. On the island of Lamu the preferred way to get to the beach is to hire a small dhow to carry you across to the island of Manda, where you can have a drink at the Manda Beach Club whose bar (Fig. 1) is inside the hull of a dismasted dhow set in concrete. [TRUNCATED]
African Studies Center Working Paper No. 258
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