Thursday, June 19, 2008

Power to the people

Residents of Tanzania's Zanzibar island are celebrating the return of the island's power supplies four weeks after they were cut off. In the historic Stone Town, women, men, and children sang: "Leo umeme washa" - "Today the power has come on".

There are reports that some areas will have to wait longer because cables have been stolen, but in Stone Town the drone of generators has been silenced. A surge caused a connection to collapse between underwater and overland cables.

The power resumed on Wednesday morning, first in Stone Town and then in neighbouring districts. For the past month, those shops who could not afford spending nearly $10 a day on generator fuel, have waited in darkness.

In the market area of Darajani, bookshop owner Farouk Karim explains that the past month has been disastrous for the shop. "We deal in the business of newspapers and that needs light. It was not a profitable month at all. This is a modern world and for a country to have no power for a month is a real shame."

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