A Father And Son Capture Zanzibar's Past And Present Stories

05/20/2015 11:45 am ET | Updated May 27, 2015

As a young man, Rohit Oza joined his father on photography trips through the streets and coastlines of the African island of Zanzibar.

Now 62-years-old, Oza is still walking in his father's footsteps. He runs the photography shop Capital Art Studio, which his father first opened in Stone Town, Zanzibar, in 1930. Alongside his father's photographs, he displays his own images of the same locations today, compiling a treasure trove of past and present portraits of the East African island.

Rebecca Crook, an American school principal working in South Africa, discovered Capital Art Studio on a recent trip to Zanzibar and documented its work in a beautiful photo series posted on her Instagram account.

"Rohit's images capture daily life in an unassuming way," Crook told The WorldPost by email. "His work, in conjunction with his father's, is a historical archive of Zanzibari life and governance."

Oza's father, Ranchid, captured life in a very different Zanzibar. In the early 20th century, when the island was a British protectorate and constitutional monarchy, he worked as an official photographer for the sultan's family.

Turmoil was around the corner. After Britain granted the island independence in 1963, revolutionaries from Zanzibar's African majority overthrew the Arab-dominated government and later united the island with Tanzania. Several thousand people were reported killed in the aftermath of the 1964 revolution.

Ranchid Oza continued to document official and unofficial life on the island until his death in 1983. Today, Rohit Oza also has a side job covering weddings and official events. When Crook asked Oza about Zanzibar's transformation since the time of his father, he told her: "You can see for yourself in the pictures."

Rohit Oza poses with a portrait of his late father, Ranchid T. Oza , the founder of Capital Art Studio.

Rohit Oza shows his archive and display at the Capital Art Studio.

Images of the same Zanzibar street photographed by Rohit Oza in the 1990s, and by his father in the 1950s.

Rohit Oza with his first-ever camera, a plastic Kodak, that his father gave him when he was 12 years old.

A photo taken by Rohit Oza's father in the 1950s, shown on the same street.

A narrow road near the Capital Art Studio, and Rohit Oza's father's photo of the same road from the 1950s.

Rohit Oza and Rebecca Crook pose for a photo in Capital Art Studio.

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