St Monica's Hostel

St Monica's Hostel
This is an impressive old stone building in its own right. Apart from its hostel accommodation and its gallery and craft shop, its basement provides one of Zanzibar's simplest, but arguably most moving and evocative, reminders of the dehumanising horrors of the slave trade.
A stone staircase leads down from the entrance hallway to what is reputed to be the dungeon where slaves were kept before being taken to market.

Try to go there with a local person or competent guide who can set the scene and recount the history while you are in situ. It's chilling. The dank rooms – more like tombs – are cramped and airless, with low doorways and tiny windows. Even today it's a sombre place – but imagine it crowded with slaves in their hundreds, men, women and children together, sick and exhausted after their gruelling sea voyage, crammed five deep on the narrow stone slabs and shackled with chains which still lie there today. Imagine the pain, terror, bewilderment, desolation – and death.
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