February 28, 2004
In 1873 the slave trade was declared illegal. Consequently the slave market in Stone Town was closed but the slave trade continued until 1918 when Tanganyika became a British protectorate. Exploitation of the former slaves did not stop; they worked for a pittance in the spice plantations. In 1961 when Tanganyika became independent the slave trade stopped for once and for all.
Next to the slave chamber is the Anglican cathedral Church of Christ built in 1873, the year the slave markets closed. The interior of the church is full of reminders of the slave trade. Dr. Livingstone, explorer, doctor, anti-slave activist, is commemorated in a stained glass window. There is also a crucifix made of the wood of the tree under which Livingstone’s heart was buried. It was his explicit wish that his heart should remain in Africa. A red circle next to the altar marks the spot of a post. Slaves were tied to it, then whipped to test their strength and resilience before being sold.
If you would like to know more about Dr Livingstone I advise you to visit the Dr Livingstone Museum in Stone Town.
From journal Zanzibar: Stone Town