Past programs and projects

In its 10 years of operations, the ZSTHS has been proud to accomplish many projects and activities for Stone Town. Below is a summary of some of these accomplishments.

ZSTHS 10th Anniversary
In September 2012, the Zanzibar Stone Town Heritage Society celebrated our 10th anniversary! Activities included a special exhibition of photographs and traditional carved wood, renovation workshops, a public meeting, and an award ceremony for best practices in conservation.

Zanzibar Conservation Centre
The ZSTHS was given the mandate to host and develop the Zanzibar Conservation Centre. Commonly known as the Old Customs House, the building is located along the Forodhani seafront on Mizingani Road. It had degraded to a very poor state when in mid-1990 UNESCO initiated a renovation program. In 1998 Aga Khan Cultural Services, Zanzibar, with funding from the Embassy of Sweden/Sida, Dar es Salaam, took on the project. The building was inaugurated in 2001.The Zanzibar Conservation Centre currently offers a public space on the ground floor with a beautiful arts and crafts exhibition and sale. The majority of the space within ZCC is rented by the Zanzibar Dhow Countries Music Academy. More information about this excellent modern Swahili music and dance school is available at

Restoration of Ahmed Naaman gravesite (November 2011)
In November 2011, the ZSTHS was part of a team that restored the tomb of Ahmed Naaman in the Kiponda neighbourhood of Stone Town.

Lectures/Public Talks
The ZSTHS frequently holds educational discussions for the public on issues around heritage and conservation. A few past talks were:

  • Reclamation of Creek Road (October 2011)
  • Comparison of Sustainable Cities Program (July 2003)
  • Solidarity Day of the OWHC (September 2004)
  • Mosques within Stone Town and its importance for cultural heritage (January 2005)

Solidarity Day (September 2011)
Solidarity Day is a day for all World Heritage sites around the globe to celebrate their unique status and heritage. The ZSTHS celebrated the day by holding a beach cleaning from Malindi to Forodhani Gardens.

World Heritage Day (April 2011)
World Heritage Day was celebrated in April 2011. The ZSTHS participated in the public celebration at Forodhani Gardens with our partner, the Stone Town Conservation and Development Authority.

Neighbourhood Awareness Meetings (March 2011)
Chosen residents of the Mkunanzini and Shangani neighbourhoods were invited to meetings held to educate men and women on how to protect Stone Town. The attendees were informed of the various challenges facing the community and invited to share their knowledge with their neighbourhoods.

UNESCO visit (January 2011)
In January 2011, the ZSTHS hosted UNESCO representative Bakonirina Rakotomamonjy, who visited Stone Town to learn about the city and its status as a World Heritage Site.

Media Resource Centre
A media resource centre was established by funds from the Embassy of Sweden/Sida and put under the guidance of the ZSTHS. The goal of the centre was to operate on a commercial basis and for a group of young students to be trained on the equipment. During the Centre’s operation, the Baraza soap opera was created under a professionally guided training program (see activities, below). Unfortunately, the ZSTHS currently lack the funds to maintain the Media Resource Centre, and it has been closed.

Baraza TV series
During the Community-based Rehabilitation Program run by the Aga Khan Cultural Services, Zanzibar and funded by the Embassy of Sweden/Sida, a video documentation project took place, leading to a series of documentary programs reflecting the life of Stone Town for those living in so-called ‘urban villages.’ The program, known as the Baraza of Stone Town, became very popular and was shown both on Television Zanzibar and on other Tanzanian channels.
During the Media Resource Centre training program, a soap opera series set in Stone Town was developed by students along with the Jicho Communicative Consultants who were running the program. After a trial of three programs, a proposal was granted by the Embassy of Sweden/Sida for the production of an additional ten episodes, which aired in 2006 on Television Zanzibar.

Zanzibar International Film Festival Presentations
The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) is a well-known annual event in Zanzibar. In 2006, ZSTHS presented an entertaining and colourful powerpoint presentation on the meaning of World Heritage and Zanzibar as a World Heritage Site. We also presented a short drama on Princess Salme’s life, presented with traditional taraab music, giving a view of the rich and unique history of Zanzibar and Stone Town.

Children’s Photographic Competition: Get to Know My Stone Town
During our partnership with the Swedish Association for Building Preservation (below), a special event for children’s awareness was arranged. Twelve groups of four children between the ages of 7-12 were given a disposable camera to document their neighbourhood and surroundings. The cameras were then collected and the films developed. The children received their pictures and were asked to select four pictures for the competition with a description for each picture. The selected pictures were mounted on exhibition panels. Three winning groups were awarded, and each children received a certificate.
Mosques in Stone Town (seminar, 2005)
HIV/AIDS for ZSTHS members (seminar, 2006)
Workshop: Lime use and renovation of Tippu Tip Tomb, Zanzibar (2005)
In June 2005, the ZSTHS worked to repair and renovate the tomb of Tippu Tip, which had long since been degraded.

Workshop: Wood preservation and renovation of entrance to Hamamni Secondary School (2005)
In November 2005, the ZSTHS held a workshop on wood preservation and restored one of Stone Town’s legendary doors.
UN Habitat Forum
The World Urban Forum is held every two years by the UN. The ZSTHS was present at the World Urban Forums in 2004 and 2006 through our partnership with the Swedish Association for Building Preservation.

Partnership with the Swedish Association for Building Preservation (SBF)
The Swedish Association for Building Preservation (Svenska byggnadsvardsforeningen, SBF), arranges seminars, workshops, excursions, restoration camps, and produces a periodical. The partnership between SBF and ZSTHS was proposed by the Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency (Sida) in 2003 and signed in 2005. The partnership objectives were:

  • To share experience on how to perform activities
  • ZSTHS to strengthen its capacity as a cultural heritage NGO
  • Learn how to perform community activities through local participation
  • SBF will learn how to work with foreign traditional techniques and materials
  • Improve knowledge and understanding of different cultural and social contexts

A number of activities were undertaken by the two organizations:
Restoration Camps

  • Restoration camp ‘Gotland’ – Sweden (August 2004)
  • Restoration camp ‘Vita Villan’ – Oland, Sweden (September 2005)
  • Restoration camp ‘Olofsfors Bruk’ – Olofsfors, Sweden (August 2006)
  • Restoration camp ‘Forodhani Women’s Mosque’ – Zanzibar (November 2006)


  • Lime use and renovation of Tippu Tip tomb – Zanzibar (June 2005)
  • Wood preservation and renovations of entrance door to Hamamni Secondary School (November 2005)
  • Exhibitions
  • “Lime Use and Wood Preservation” a 13-panel exhibition at the Zanzibar Conservation Centre, Zanzibar (April 2006)
  • ‘Get to Know My Stone Town’ – Children’s Photographic Competition and exhibit
  • Exchange on council and board level
  • ZSTHS’s Annual General Meeting 2006 was attended by Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of SBF (April 2006)
  • SBF’s Annual General Meeting 2006 was attended by Treasurer of ZSTHS (May 2006)