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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Scents of identity: fragrance as heritage in Zanzibar
Author:Boswell, Rosabelle
Periodical:Journal of Contemporary African Studies
Geographic term:Zanzibar
Subjects:cultural heritage
sensory perception
aromatic plants
Abstract:In 2000, UNESCO declared Zanzibar Stone Town a World Heritage Site. Since this time the Tanzanian government and international NGOs (based in Zanzibar) have participated in the rehabilitation of the town's buildings and other physical infrastructure. However, little attention has been paid to the rich intangible heritage of the islands and the fusion of cultural expressions in this part of the world. This paper considers the important role of fragrances in the identity construction processes of Zanzibar islanders. The author offers a brief history, theoretical discussion and detailed ethnography of fragrance in Zanzibar. She discusses its role in the varied constitution of identity, belief and in life cycle rituals. The author further argues that fragrance and other seemingly 'mundane' heritages attract little attention in the preservation process and yet these indicate important cultural continuities in the Indian Ocean region and form a vital part of heritage and the harmonization of cultures on the islands. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]