Fatma Peera Dewjee
- Khoja Ismaili Kizingo Cemetery, Zanzibar
- Business - Kikuba
Born in Zanzibar
"My grandmother was famously know as "Fatupira" in Mwembetanga. She and my mum (Shirin) were well known for making "KIKUBA".
A Kikuba is a small bouquet of intricately designed rosettes which local women wear on their hair as an adornment. It is made by carefully arranging, intertwining and tying the petals and leaves of sweet smelling flowers together into a radial shape. The sweet smelling leaves were those of Pachoris, Pakangas, Rehanis, Pompiya, and the petals were of flowers like Langilangi, Kiluwa, Jasmine, Rose, and Nargis. Kikubas were a hot item especially during the wedding season when they would sell out faster than my granny and mum could make them.
People from as far as the Middle East (Dubai) used to come to purchase these bouquets. Sadly though, after my granny died and my parents left Zanzibar in 1972, the Kikuba business stopped altogether.
Besides Kikuba, my grandmother also used to sell home-made perfumes, known as "Tarbizuna".
It consisted mainly of a mixture of two different types of perfume essences ("Chin Chin" and "Pompiya") with water. This concoction was then filled in small bottles and sold.
My granny also used to make home-made Eye Liner ("Aanjari") or "Vanja" in Swahili. She made this by lighting cottonwool and the soot formed was collected and mixed with ghee. This paste was then sold in small sea shells, which we used to collect from the seashore. Normally, half a teaspoon was stuffed in a small shell and sold. The application of this paste to the eyes not only enhanced their beauty but also gave a very cooling effect to them."
By Mumtaz Akberali Memories of Zanzibar ( http://znzmumtaz.50webs.com)