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Ladha Mawji

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Kamadia Ladha Mawji





Place of Death Zanzibar


Place of longest stay Zanzibar
Profession or occupation carried out for the longest period in life: Business
Where Zanzibar
Family tree click here


"Another example of the process of trial and error’ is given in the life history of the South Asian Ladha Mawji. He appeared in court for the third time in 1908. He started his first business in Zanzibar in 1881. He went bankrupt in 1902 and again in 1904. He was able to repay his creditors more than 70 per cent of the total debts.

It is not clear how and why he started business again, and who lent him the money. In 1908, he was declared bankrupt again and the Trustee noted that “it is not possible to ascertain with accuracy how he has suffered losses”. However, elsewhere in his report, some hints are given:

The insolvent has, while he was in none too solvent, a position spent after the marriage of his daughter and nephew about Rs 1500 and paid away to the Jamat Khana [the mosque of the Ismailis, G.O.] about Rs 1,000. The expense of Rs l,000 was quite a substantial amount considering that his total debts were about Rs 20,000, of which he was able to repay a little more than Rs 5,000.

This case is one of the few examples in Zanzibar in which a person managed to become bankrupt more than once. It is plausible that his position within the Jamat Khana organisation or the position of his in-laws and that of his daughter made it possible for him to obtain new loans and start new ventures.

Nevertheless, this case shows that he had not learnt much from the past. Moreover, it seems that his status within the family and Jamat Khana was more important to him than reinvesting profits in his business"

Oonk, Gijsbert - Settled Strangers- South Asian Business Elites in East Africa 1800-2000 Sage (pg 90)