The el­dest in a strug­gling fam­ily of five, Mohamad Ali Mohamad left ru­ral Tan­za­nia for Zanz­ibar to make a life and a rep­u­ta­tion for him­self in the ho­tel in­dus­try

The Africa Report - - CONTENTS -

Zanz­ibar ho­tel op­er­a­tions man­ager Mohamad Ali Mohamad

At the age of 20, af­ter years of strug­gle grow­ing up in a poor fam­ily in the Dodoma re­gion of Tan­za­nia, I de­cided that it was time for me to leave home to go make a life for my­self else­where. At the time my par­ents had sep­a­rated from each other and I had to help take care of my younger brother and three sis­ters. I used to sell things around the vil­lage, like food, in or­der to make some ex­tra money be­cause my fam­ily was very poor and as the el­dest of five kids I felt it my duty to help out. Even­tu­ally I man­aged to save enough money for a bus that took me from my vil­lage to Dar es Salaam, and then got onto a boat to Zanz­ibar. At the time I knew no one in Zanz­ibar, but I was com­mit­ted to fight­ing for a bet­ter life for my­self. Once I got there I got a job at a ho­tel in Ki­wengwa, where I worked as a kitchen stew­ard. The hours were long but I per­se­vered. As the years pro­gressed, my bosses no­ticed my po­ten­tial and I was pro­moted to work­ing in the restau­rant as a waiter, then pro­moted again to work­ing as a bar­man. I re­ally en­joyed my job, es­pe­cially meet­ing dif­fer­ent peo­ple from places I have never been to. That is the best part of work­ing in the ho­tel in­dus­try – you learn so much about the world from other peo­ple.


At the mo­ment I am op­er­a­tions man­ager at Zanz­ibar Ho­tel, where I hope one day to be pro­moted to be­ing a man­ager. But my ul­ti­mate dream is to own and run a ho­tel of my own. I am de­ter­mined to make my dream come true be­cause I will be able to look af­ter my fam­ily. My brother also moved to Stone Town and he is also work­ing in the ho­tel in­dus­try, while my three sis­ters live in Dar es Salaam. I visit them once a year when I take my an­nual va­ca­tion from work. I am a very sim­ple man. When I am not work­ing, I am al­ways at my place re­lax­ing be­cause I work hard. My work­ing hours are from 8am to 9pm. And although Stone Town is a safe place, I also un­der­stand that some peo­ple are poor. One night when get­ting off a dala dala [a pub­lic bus] I was pick-pock­eted by a group of guys who took some money and my cell­phone. Be­sides a few scratches I was not hurt. I hope to one day have my own fam­ily, but right now I am con­tent help­ing my sib­lings out where I can. In­ter­view by Neo Ma­ditla

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