The people of Chole have been preparing to celebrate a new beginning, the New Year. Zinguo la Chole is a charm to bring good luck for the coming year; to protect the island and its community from illness, disease and evil. The festivities began three days ago as groups of men walked together on the shores of Chole reading passages from the Koran and chanting. The ceremonies culminate in a island wide feast held at Forodhani Beach where every household brings freshly made bread and donates 2,000Tsh ($0.80) to buy a cow for the occasion. The men get together at dawn to begin cutting the meat which is separated into various pots for different dishes including beef stew, kebabs, bones and soup. The cow’s feet and horns are retained to perform the final offering – they are thrown into the sea with an Islamic prayer – without this, I’m told, the charm does not work. The Chole people love nothing more than being with friends and neighbours and between the old wazees sleeping under the frangipani trees and the children running around the beach to the women chatting and weaving mats – Zinguo la Chole is a true celebration of renewed life and hopes for a successful year to come.
Lyndsey Fair, Chole Mjini Lodge Manager