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AAmatters team

Berend van der Lans

Iga Perzyna


Hifadhi Zanzibar Ltd.

Reclaim Women Space

Busara Promotions

Zanzibar International Film Festival Project funded by Culture at Work Africa

Relevant links

Culture at Work Africa

Hifadhi Zanzibar Ltd.

Busara Promotions

Zanzibar International Film Festival


#architecture #culture #research #collaboration #cinema

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 until today.

Through the project Blueprint For Majestic Cinema ‘Culture Hub’ Hifadhi Zanzibar, together with its project partners ZIFF, Busara Promotions and Reclaim Women Space, seeks to create a socio-cultural and operational basis for the proposed cultural hub in the Majestic Cinema. AAmatters assists Hifadhi and its partners in the development of the project. The culture hub will draw on the inclusive and egalitarian traditions of cinema in Zanzibar and will serve as 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.


The project is the first step in the process leading to the restoration of the building, but will itself not result in physical work on the cinema.

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