Hair style ban solely for Zanzibaris, Isles clarifies

THE Zanzibar Revolutionary Government on Wednesday clarified its ban on weaved hair and body tattoos while assuring tourists and foreigners that the restriction applies only to the Zanzibaris.

The Zanzibar Minister of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports, Tabia Maulid Mwita, made the statement during in a press briefing here in on Wednesday.

She urged foreigners and tourists to let go of their worries about the ban by visiting the Isles in large numbers since that is only refers to the Zanzibaris.

“We respect other people’s culture and also human rights; therefore, the statement made by the Executive Secretary of the Arts Council on Tuesday that trends on social media is null and void,” said Minister of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports Tabia Maulid Mwita.

The Minister convened a press conference yesterday to clarify the announcement, saying the statement wasn’t property presented by the Executive Secretary Omar Adam, who had said that men with weaved hair would be arrested in Zanzibar because it is against the laws that protect ‘Zanzibar culture and customs’.

She continued: “It also said that police would arrest people with weaved hair and fine them 1m/- or one has to pay the same amount for a permit for braiding hair. The announcement sparked mixed reactions, particularly on social media, with some public saying it would scare away tourists with tattoos and weaved hair.

“It is true that Zanzibar Arts and Censorship Council Act, No.7/2015, prohibits men weaving their hair and also body tattoos, but applies to Zanzibaris only because of protecting our culture and customs,” she stated.

Regarding human rights, the Minister noted that even Zanzibaris, including young artists weaving their hair and tattooing their bodies, are counselled and educated on preserving culture and religion.

“We avoid using force and arrests that may lead to prosecution in Court. The sentence for the accused is fine or six months or both punishments.”

Most artists, ordinary people, players and some politicians, particularly the male youths, have adopted the habit of weaving their hair and decorating their bodies with tattoos. However, regarding Zanzibar culture, it is unacceptable.

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