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Majestic Culture Hub - adaptive reuse of the Majestic Cinema 

CategorY

Consultancy

Research

Period

2023-

AAmatters team

Berend van der Lans

Iga Perzyna

Partners
/Collaborators

Hifadhi Zanzibar Ltd.

Reclaim Women Space

Busara Promotions

Zanzibar International Film Festival 

Relevant links

Majestic Culture Hub 

Hifadhi Zanzibar Ltd.

Busara Promotions

Zanzibar International Film Festival

tags

#architecture #culture #research  #cinema#adaptivereuse#collaboration

The history of cinema in Zanzibar goes back to the early 20th century. In its heydays the island was home to three permanent movie theatres visited weekly by hundreds of people hungry for entertainment and curious about the wider world. For a long time, cinemas were one of the few social and cultural venues in town that brought together people from various social backgrounds, ethnicities and genders. Today, of the three purpose-built cinemas only the Majestic Cinema in Vuga, built in 1954 remains in its original use. Despite the steadily declining public and poor technical and structural condition of the building, Abdulhussein Marashi, the manager of the cinema since the 1980s, has managed to keep its doors open.

 

The Majestic Culture Hub draws on the inclusive and egalitarian traditions of cinema in Zanzibar and will serve as a cultural centre for people, a meeting place for different arts and a platform for dialogue. The future use of the building will be centred around its original use as a cinema, but in order to ensure its sustainability it will also be provided with additional functions such as offices for our project partners and commercial spaces e.g. a café, snack bar or restaurant.

 

AAmatters has been involved in the development of the project from its initial stages and is currently assisting Hifadhi Zanzibar in all aspects of the preparation and organisation of the construction phase of the adaptive re-use of the building. Hifadhi Zanzibar signed a Public Private Partnership agreement with the Revolutionary Government of Zanizbar in 2024 for the use of the building and is now heading the redevelopment of the building. 


The project receives financial support, among others, from UNESCO through the Government of Japan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and from CHiFA. Additional finance is sought. 

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