Exterior, Zanzibar Cathedral 2007

Zanzibar Cathedral

The 19th-century Cathedral had fallen into disrepair and had structural problems. It was built on Zanzibar’s old slave market site and is a Stone Town World Heritage Site as well as the main place of worship for Anglicans on the island.

CED inspected, proposed and oversaw the refurbishment of the cathedral, repair of St. Monica’s old dispensary and the installation of an exhibition, then repairs to the spire that were separate from the European-funded project.

The current project with World Monuments Fund has provided for the insertion of steel ties in the roof and gone on to replace the roof tiles and re-plaster the walls. On-site supervision was provided by a CED member’s consultancy, ADAC Structures, during the critical structural phase. WMF employed direct labour for other work under the supervision of a conservation expert. The vision includes the development of an exhibition celebrating the end of the slave trade with the expectation that ticket sales will help fund ongoing maintenance.

Some parts of the Cathedral still require further attention: the stained glass, altar, clock, bells and organ.

Download a PDF about the project

Find out more through the Friends of Zanzibar Cathedral or the Cathedral’s website.

What did it cost and who paid for it?

The project cost approximately €1,000,000, made up of contributions by:

European Union78%
Government of Zanzibar3%
Anglican Diocese of Zanzibar (+ international help)11%
U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation6%
CED, including Anglican Church in UK2%

Underway; more funds needed!

Cathedral spire needing attention
Cathedral spire needing attention

The Cathedral conservation team is on site and everyone is keen to see the project continue once the main structural work is complete. A dip in tourist numbers (visitors pay to visit the cathedral) has depleted the Diocese’s finances and they are working hard to generate funds so that they not only benefit from the full tranche of European funding but can continue with work to the badly damaged stained glass, altar, etc.

This repair work will provide local jobs and develop the skills of artisans in Stone Town. On completion the cathedral should be self sustaining through income from an “abolition of slavery” exhibition, an installation that will challenge visitors to think about modern day slavery as well as remembering the role of 19th century reformers who persuaded Zanzibar to close its slave market.

Please support this work if you are able, marking your donation “for Zanzibar Cathedral” and sending a cheque to the CED treasurer.