Life of Omani Sheikh in Africa



Muscat: An illustrated biography of Sheikh-Sir Mbarak Al Hinawy (1896-1959), Between Empires,  by Dr. Zulfikar Hirji, Associate Professor at York University, Toronto, was recently launched at Bait Al Zubair Museum under the auspices of His Highness Sayyid Shihab bin Tariq Al Said, Advisor to His Majesty the Sultan.

The book showcases one of the most prominent Omani Arab Muslim figures living in coastal East Africa during the first half of the 20th century a cultured man decorated by the Sultan of Zanzibar and the British Queen, who witnessed the final decades of the imperial and colonial era and the rise of African nationalism from his home in Mombasa, the coastal capital of present-day Kenya.

His son, Khalifa bin Mbarak Al Hina'i, explains, "This book is an account of the life and times of my beloved father, Sheikh-Sir Mbarak bin Ali Al Hinawy KBE, who served in the capacity of Liwali (Governor) for the Coast of Kenya from 1941-1959. Prior to that, he served as the Liwali of Mombasa from 1937-1941.

"My family came to East Africa from Oman during the lifetime of my great-great grandfather, Ali bin Mansur bin Mohd Al Hinawy. Settling first in Zanzibar and then in Mombasa, my family has been closely connected to the Sultanate of Zanzibar. This book takes us on a journey through a romantic and turbulent era when men like my father worked dutifully with the empires of the day to build a bright future for this corner of Africa. It was a time, a place and a struggle that appears to have been forgotten in history books."

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