MAFIA ISLAND TANZANIA image branding - people of Mafia Island

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Landscapes of Kanga, 1965-2010

Access to Kanga from the south is along a road which, for much of this period, was often impassable to vehicles, especially during the rainy season. The journey to Kilindoni, the district capital, is only 25 miles, but even today, when the road has been improved, can take 2-3 hours by lorry.

Like other northern villages of Mafia, Kanga has a centre with buildings such as the clinic, office of the ruling party (now CCM, formerly TANU), a few shops and a mosque. The centre is surrounded by outlying hamlets, each with its own mosque and graveyard. Most of the land has been planted up with coconut trees since German times, but surrounding the village are large tracts of bush land which are cultivated on a shifting pattern. Within the village there are also some meadowlands (madawe) used for growing wet rice.

Houses are built of mangrove poles and mud, thatched with coconut palm, and the only brick houses are those of government servants. A few now have corrugated iron (bati) roofs, but by comparison with Bweni, its northern neighbour, Kanga has not invested in new forms of housing. Many families build a second small hut out in their fields during the growing season so as to be on hand to guard the crop.