THE FISHERMEN OF NUNGWI
Every morning before sunrise, the men of Nungwi, at the northernmost tip of Zanzibar, gather and look out onto the ocean. They wait for the fishermen that left from here the night before and have been out at sea fishing all night. All eyes are pointed towards the horizon, waiting for the first “mashua” to appear in the distance.
And when the wooden boat arrives at the shore the men run towards it and help the tired fishermen carrying in their catch. They bring in tuna, marlin, mackerel, some carry giant sailfish on their shoulders and others bring an assortment of smaller, colourful fish.
As soon as the fish touch the concrete floor at the Nungwi Fish Market, the auction begins. “Mia moja, mia moja ni hamsini, mia mbili, mia mbili ni hamsini…” and the first fish of the catch are sold and carried away before the last ones have been brought to land.
Many of the people of Zanzibar rely on fishing for their livelihood. Most is sold directly in the community or to the tourist resorts along the coast. And while tourism has grown considerably in the last 20 years, the lives of the fishermen of Nungwi has largely remained the same.