Kilwa is a good place to think about the inequities of the world. It is a place of natural riches, which have been harvested by people for millennia. Karen Moon in her 2015 book “Kilwa Kisiwani: Ancient Port City of the East African Coast”, explains that when the Portuguese arrived in 1505, Francisco de Almeida, a traveler, noted that, “ Kilwa is very fertile and produces maize...butter, honey, and wax. On the trees hang beehives…The Grand-Captain…once saw 25 gazelles…There are also many wild cats in the bush.”
The population was probably about 7000 people, and one of his mates noted that, “From our ships, the fine houses, terraces, and minarets, with the palms and trees in the orchards, made the city look so beautiful that our men were eager to land and overcome the pride of this barbarian king.”
So they attacked. Left it in ruins. Kilwa survives as a village of about 800 people
Trash and treasure still comes from the sea.
by Anne H. Outwater PhD, RN,
World Learning Advancing Leaders Fellow
All photos by Anne Outwater in Kilwa - October 2017
Anne Outwater has lived and traveled widely in Tanzania since 1989. She is head of the Department of Community Health Nursing at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences. Her garden in Dar es Salaam is a pocket nature reserve certified by the National Wildlife Federation. She has been writing Nature Notes since 1990, and many of them emerge from the nature reserve.