As we were touring the Sultan’s Palace Museum in Stone Town on the island of Zanzibar, a group of local students were also visiting on a school field trip. They were all dressed in what was clearly a school uniform – the boys in grey slacks and yellow polo shirts and the girls in ankle length grey skirts and yellow head scarves. I was struck by the contrast of the girls with their simple head coverings as they were studying one of the displays in the museum, and the painting behind them of a very elaborately dressed Empress Elizabeth of Austria. The painting was given as a gift when Zanzibar’s ruler, Sultan Barghash bin Said, signed a treaty with Austria-Hungary’s Emperor Franz Josef in 1888.
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