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"During the 1870s, Zanzibar Town’s first commercial photography studios were among the earliest established in east Africa. A. C. Gomes and the brothers Felix and J.B. Coutinho, probably part of the Portuguese/Goan diaspora, sold portraits, views, and commercial subjects to the Sultan’s family and Zanzibari elite, as well as to the stream of foreign visitors and emigrés. But an entirely different kind of subject would soon emerge with the end of slavery in 1897 – images of newly freed women…
After 1897, newly freed people, many of whom had come from the east and central African mainland, immediately embraced new fashions that reflected their shifted status. Prior to abolition, unfree Zanzibari women working in the city or countryside would have signaled their position as slaves by wearing inexpensive white merikani cloth wrappers or the indigo-dyed cloth, kaniki. After abolition, women immediately choose to buy kanga, cloths printed with lush colors and bold graphics. Free women could choose cover their heads and shoulders with ornately folded turbans in public, a sign of Muslim propriety previously the prerogative of Zanzibar’s elite women."
Found on http://indian-ocean.africa.si.edu/