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Premiere of documentary on  Oman, East Africa ties on Sunday

17 Feb 2024 Premiere of documentary on Oman, East Africa ties today

Muscat – The Ministry of Information, represented by Nizwa Magazine, will premiere the documentary House of Wonders at House of Musical Arts in Royal Opera House Muscat on Sunday.

A three-episode series – each of 50 minutes – it documents Oman’s presence in Zanzibar and East Africa, in addition to focusing on a book on the role of Omani cultural in this area.

Produced in three languages – Arabic, English and Swahili – the documentary is a Omani-German coproduction investigating the historical relations between Oman and East Africa while taking the arrival of European colonial powers into account. 

Narrated by Beit al Ajaib (House of Wonders) as a witness to this relationship, the films follow the biographies of three pivotal characters covering a span of 150 years. They are Episode 1: A Trader’s Empire – Sayyid Said bin Sultan; Episode 2: The Age of Caravans – Tippu Tip; and Episode 3: The Voice of Mombasa – Mubarak al Hinawy.

Local experts as well as international scholars contribute to a multi-perspective approach seeking to bridge the differences that resulted from fractured identities on all sides.

The documentary highlights the pioneering contribution of Omanis in the political, commercial, social and cultural fields, represented by the spread of Islam and Arab culture in East Africa.

The documentary was filmed in various locations around the world, including Zanzibar, several African, Asian, European and American locations, besides Oman.

Beit al Ajaib is a landmark in Stone Town, Zanzibar. It is the largest and tallest building of Stone Town occupying a prominent place facing the Forodhani Gardens on the old town’s seafront in Mizingani Road. 

The palace was built in 1883 for Barghash bin Said, second Sultan of Zanzibar. It was intended as a ceremonial palace and official reception hall, celebrating modernity, and named ‘House of Wonders’ because it was the first building in Zanzibar to have electricity, and also the first building in East Africa to have an elevator.

On December 25, 2020, a section of the iconic structure collapsed with the tragic loss of two lives.

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