When I visited thePalace Museum in Stone Town, one of the highlights was the Sultan’s bedroom. Ithad a king sized double bed, with a crown fixed into its features. The bed’sappearance was in keeping with what one would have expected, but nothingprepared me for the other furniture pieces made out of formica - fashionable inthe era just before the revolution which sent the Sultan and his family intoexile. Even though Zanzibarhas a strong wood carving tradition of its own, most of the furniture wasimported from abroad. It made me cringe to hear that the formica pieces wereimported from the UK, as they did little to contribute to the impressive impactof the room.The Palace was takenover by the leaders of the revolution.
In a manner that would have been asource of amusement to George Orwell, they took over the building and probablyused the living quarters for personal use for a long time
.In recent years, thegovernment decided to convert the palace into a museum. It was a wise decision,because there are many vestiges of a bygone era therein, that have beenpreserved for visitors like me to reflect about. I couldn’t help thinking of Animal Farm when I heard about the choices made bythe leaders of the revolution. There are many deep thinkers who hail from thecontinent of my heritage, but so many others are inclined towards making facilechoices in moments of sweeping change.