3 / 2001

Tanzania * Silver toe-knob sandal from Zanzibar

More than 98% of the population of Tanzania is divided in about 120 tribes of African origin like the Sukuma, Nyamwezi, Liguzu, Makonde, Haya, Chagga et cetera. The balance is made up by Europeans, Arabs and Asians. The latter being mainly Indians and Pakistani, who also crafted above sandal in the 19th century. The frame of the elevated sandal is carved out of wood. Later it is covered with intricately decorated silver leaf. Such sandals were worn ceremonially on weddings and other festive occasions. It is said that the little bells on the side of the sandals were made for the purpose that by their ringing sound, a husband could always hear where his wife was when he needed her.

Research and text by : W.A.H.M. Habraken-Oosterhout-Holland
Illustration by : Colin Ball - Waalwijk - Holland