My maternal grandfather, Hassanali Gwaderi (pictured above with my grandmother) emigrated to East Africa from the port of Gwader (below, near bottom of the map, on the red dotted Border of Khanale) on the Arabian Sea, from where boarded a steamship headed for Mombasa on the Kenya coast.
The Gwaderi family were part of the Bolochi tribesmen from the Baluchistan region of Gwadar.
This is an historic region, bordered by India, Persia and Afghanistan, and conquered and fought for by many, from King Darius II to Alexander the Great.
In the early history of the Swahili coast, Arab traders sailed in dhows (boats) and made their why from Oman and Gwader to Zanzibar and then Mombasa on the Kenya coastline. In fact, the Swahili spoken in East Africa is actually a blend of African and Arab languages and dialects.
My grandfather would fill me with glorious tales of the Gwader people, of swashbuckling Bolichistan tribesman with curved swords and brocaded gold vests and golden shoes with the toe part curved upward. It was like listening to Shaherazad, he was such an enchanting storyteller.
My grandfather embodied the values of ‘oral storytelling traditions’ which we enjoy today within a postcolonial context. These stories were intricately woven and seamlessly spun through the fabric of the colorful cultural traditions of Bolochi tribalism, Gujarati villagers, Kikuyu folklore, Indian diasporas in British East Africa, Zanzibar traders, seafaring Arab voyagers and adventurers sailing dhows on the Indian Ocean, and of the formidable Pathan soldiers and scouts that fiercely guarded The Khyber Pass.