Zanzibar incident, my personal view and insight .
I am penning this piece without taking sides and more so as a Tourism player in Africa. A man who supports and believes in Africans traveling and visiting destinations within Africa. I will make my observation in point form to help you read this piece with ease and to also help you make your comments.
- Firstly its great to see Africans eager to visit other African countries and I am personally happy for Zanzibar pronounced Zanjibar. Its the dream of every girl to visit Zanzibar. The name itself is considered mystic and sells itself so they say . Good to see West West Africans more so nationals from Nigeria and Ghana choosing Zanzibar in big numbers which should continue. We also host them in Diani and Mombasa but lack of open skies is discouraging many of them and of course lack of marketing .
- It is NOT about Zanzibar getting and Mombasa or Diani missing out , I’ll rather they came next door to Zanzibar as opposed to Dubai or Koi Samui. I believe if they discover Zanzibar they may also discover Diani and also Mombasa next. When you neighbour is doing well, you will also be forced to work hard to do well. I’ll rather have have a thriving succesful neighbour as opposed to a failed state for a neighbour. I consider Zanzibar success my success.
- Anyone stereotyping the young lady to be a con just because she is Nigerian is simply being stupid. Nigeria is most populous nation in Africa with 200M + people . You tell me which country does not have its share of bad apples . Why would a young lady all the way from Nigeria ” invest ” to blackmail a small unbranded hotel ?
- Even worse some mostly men are asking , why is a lady travelling alone ?
Folks you need to reboot your brain. In this day and age we now have what we call solo travellers and it is a growing niche market. I did even write about them in my various posts sometimes back. I repeat a young lady has all the right and freedom to travel and see the world. Its her money she worked for it and it is the duty of any hotel ( duty of care by a hotel owner ) to look after their guest both safety and security.
- The attempt by the Resort to wash their hands off by stating that the guard was NOT their employee but an outsourced security is the height of refusing to take responsibility. Taking responsibility does not mean accepting liability. The guard did admit he was the culprit but he claimed through the hotel statement that indeed the young lady invited him to his room. All the way from Nigeria a young lady would welcome a stranger / guard to her room in Zanzibar.
Well as a hotelier I am afraid the matter is NOT personal issue , as a hotel operator you remain part of the case until it is resolved and it is upon you as a hotel to ensure justice is done and seen to be done .
- To Zanzibar authorities , all is not lost and it is said there is no negative publicity. You need to reach out to Zainab if anything let your Ambasador in Lagos make contact and that alone would diffuse the situation. This matter is just not about Nigeria only it’s about half of humanity the female sex who always find themselves harshly judged. Please dont make it a woman’s fault when a man sexually assaults a woman.
You have the chance and the authority to fly in Zainab and host her and allow her to face her tormentor and fast track the case and bring the matter to a close. That guard on high testosterone ought to learn to zip up and not harrass solo female travelers.
The guard needs to know that Zanjibar is not that village as he knows it where he could get away with anything , it is now a world renown well sought after beach destination . Zanzibar authorities jealously guard that reputation. As authorities in TZ & Zanzibar you must come hard on both the Resort management and the private security firm.
- Those accusing the lady why she was silent all that time , well an incident more so sexual violence case has no expiry and quest for justice is not lost. If time was a factor Bill Cosby and your favorite singer R.Kelly would not be cooling their heels in prison moreso for the former at such advanced age. The young lady is not at fault to bring up the matter 12 months down the line , men we are very quick to judge women and even downplay sexual violation.
- To solo female travelers, dont stop being yourself. It’s your right to travel and see the world , however you need to keep an eye sharp eye on any sign of danger. Ensure your hotel room has a safety door latch or double lock which will stop intruders. Please make sure you engage the same at all times . If your door has a peep hole use it before opening the door.
While this may sould weird before you retire to bed just have a final glance through the wardrobes, bathroom or even under the bed in case of high swahili beds that you find in many resorts just before you fix the safety latch to ensure that some intruder did not find his way into your room. While you may find it strange these things do happen hence it’s far better when you are still dressed up to face an intruder and not when you are half naked and most vulnerable position.
For female solo travellers it is the duty of the hotel to try and allocate a room closer to public areas unless they insist to be far and we also ensure we avoid allocating solo female travelers ground floors where the risk of attack tends to be higher.
Finally the net and more social media is one rough place, to my neihbours ( Jirani) next door please reach out to the young lady and I believe you can turn around this negative story. Your President in this holy month of Ramadan is personally promoting Tanzania taking the role of a guide. How about the her Zanzibar counterpart inviting Zainab once the case is fast tracked and handled as specified in No 6.
I hope you find my piece useful and to Zainab please continue traveling the world as you please and Zanzibar have amazing people and of course we are also right next door and Diani or Mombasa will be delighted to host you since we are East Africans.
As always yours truly is choosing to remain an optimist