The History of our building by Javed Jafferji
Parts of our building, dates back over 150 years. You will see glimpses of the past in some of the large, exposed walls and arches in our common areas and most importantly the Fatimid style Coptic architecture arch work, seen only in this building.
The structure of the building, which was built of sandstone has been admired for its architectural style, both in its former life and now in its new incarnation as a traditional boutique hotel. The location was deemed eminently suitable, as it was, in the heart of stone town.
This building was bought and completed by Walliji Dossaji and family in 1912, (over 100 years ago). The house was later sold to Karimjee Jivanjee.
In 1945 Karimjee Jivanjee sold the house to my grandfather, Hassan Bhai Jafferji.
Hassan Bhai Jafferji came to Zanzibar in the early 1900’s, from Kutch, Anjaar, a town in the state of India. The Jafferji family were merchants in cutlery in India, and later ventured into the hardware business. The late Hassan Bhai Jafferji did not have much money and purchased the property in 1945 by paying for the house in installments. He always spoke with great honor of being given the priviledge to purchase the building on trust basis and pay in installments.
In 1964 after the revolution that took place in Zanzibar, which changed the dramatic outline of Zanzibar, thus creating changes, which led to a number of homes to be nationalized. The Jafferji family were lucky to discover that their home was not on the list of the buildings that the government nationalized and the home remained with our family.
In 1993 Javed Jafferji established a souvenir boutique shop on the ground floor calling it the Zanzibar Gallery – and continued living in the building with his family until 2008, Javed then purchased the building from the three Jafferji family members who partly owned it, and solely ventured to create a dream of hospitality on Zanzibar. The restoration took three years of dedication and commitment to covert this home from its construction to its fully restored version as a luxury traditional boutique hotel.
Jafferji House has a rich family history that has only enhanced the prestigious façade when it began its chapter in 2012.