to be African, to be Woman, to be Creative, to be Fashionable, to be Intelligible, to be be IMARA

imara by Mshana

This is the canvas and the pages on which I curate and display the life I wish to create for myself and other liminal hu-women like myself. I explore here my passion for fashion, present my literally inspired visual arts, write my visual arts inspired written works, share my linguistics, travel diaries, show my finding comfort in food, and heck, whatever else I feel like... Welcome and enjoy!

Postcards from Zanzibar


Zanzibar! Can you believe this was my first time in Zanzibar? Wow, I am slacking. But not anymore, I am determined to travel within this country and this continent from now on… starting with this city that is so close to home yet so far off my reach -or so I thought.

touch the water

Zanzibar's popularity and beauty can be very intimidating for Tanzanians to visit. When you google “hotels in Zanzibar” and get the rates of the likes of Melia and Hyatt, it is so easy to rule out the island as a potential destination for a babe on a budget. 

But do not let the allure of the city trick you into believing that you cannot afford it because the truth is you just have to know where to go. I and my sister-friend traveled to Zanzibar last month, and it was not that out of reach for two broke girls. It turns out we had just the right amount of money for just enough activities.


In the spirit of living within your means, we opted for an Airbnb rather than a hotel. We picked one that was in the middle of stone town because we were more interested in the historical aspects of the island rather than the beautiful beaches in the north. Our Airbnb had breakfast included, so we enjoyed a lovely breakfast every day. This saved us a lot of money since we only had to budget for two meals as opposed to three.

We toured the town on foot, stopping at monuments to read the information at each stop. The monuments are so well curated that we opted to not get a guide. #moresaving We grabbed lunch at Stone Town Cafe on our first day and Lazuli Cafe on our second day. Though the food at Stone Town Cafe was nice, I think Lazuli was such a bang for your buck. Lazuli is a cute little wrap and smoothie joint so that is exactly what we had, smoothies and wraps. The wraps are amazingly fresh and the smoothies absolutely refreshing! I will certainly be going back there.

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The highlight of the trip though was our visit to Prison Island on day three. We enjoyed a nice dhow ride to the island where we learned a little history of the island and got to pet tortoise. Oh, tortoise! These beautiful slow creatures are a reminder of the things I missed out on by being the last born. My sisters tell a riveting story of them riding a tortoise to the shop as children. Apparently, my family owned one before I was born. I suspect this is a hoax but I still remember the tale whenever I see these slow creatures. How adorable is the sight of two little girls and their little brother taking turns to ride a tortoise?


We also got a chance to snorkel. I had no idea what snorkelling was until I did it! 😂 What can I say this was absolutely a trip of many firsts. Considering this was my first time swimming in the ocean since I learnt how to swim it was such a great achievement on my part. I am so proud! #BlackGirlsCanSwim

Walking out of the ocean