Say the name of Juma Aley in Zanzibar, and most of the elderly in Stone Town will remember him, others call him Maalim Juma Aley. But was he only a teacher?
Well, personally, I find it hard to agree to that. Maalim Juma Aley was a father, writer, a teacher, a politician, a devoted Muslim, Minister, cricketer, humanitarian and most of all, a Zanzibari that would be remembered by many because of his devotion and love to Zanzibar
Born in Zanzibar in 1915, in a small village of Fuoni, he received his education in Zanzibar and in London. He is much remembered of his role in the Zanzibar educational system particularly in the Teacher’s Training School in the 1940’s. In addition to this, he was also the President of the Zanzibar Non European Civil Service Association and was particularly involved in the 1948 Holmes Salaries Commission for East Africa.
Maalim Juma Aley was also part of the delegation to Lancaster house in 1962/63 when seeking for the islands independence, and he later served as the Regional Administrator of Tanga Region between 1974 -1983.

His famous book “Zanzibar In the context” is mostly remembered for his attempt to spotlight the crucial role of the Indian Ocean in shaping the destiny of our islands through Oman and the Comoros, and in laying the foundations of cultural and commercial values by drawing us together in a concerted, perennial fusion and unique in history. He pointed out on similarities of the Mediterranean that has been influence to the North African coast by comparing the Indian Ocean has been to Zanzibar or East Africa in general.

Maalim Juma and his love for cricket is still spoken today, he was very encouraging to youths who could be seen surrounding him at the first pitch in Mnazi Mmoja and listening to his anglicized accent, and also receiving cricket coaching.
Juma Aley with his posh and polished outlook displayed immense style. He was such a well-dressed and disciplined player that he executed an everlasting impact upon viewers. Those who had known him, speak of him with reverence even today. He projected a dignified figure on the cricket field discounting any notion that cricket was a white man’s game. Even today lovers of the game from Zanzibar recall that day in 1956 when amid clapping and applause, Juma Aley in his beige coloured outfit majestically leading his Zanzibar side onto the field while Pakstani batsmen Hanif Mohamed and Alimuddin following to open their innings. It was a memorable day in the cricket history of Zanzibar and there was a lot of fanfare in the stone town for the Pakistanis who in turn were immensely impressed by the sophistication and class of the Zanzibar skipper. The Pakistani counterpart Abdulhafeez Kardar paid great compliments to Juma Aley.

Rashid Juma Aley ( his fourth son ) who was my colleague at work during the 90’s had a lot love for his father, he enjoyed sharing stories about his father and the interesting journey his father has had. According to Rashid, their favourite time of the day was an afternoon tea just after alaasir prayers (around 16:00hrs) .They would sit out on a balcony and Maalim Juma would share his teachings with his family. This was the only time that he truly enjoyed his time to write and read. Bi Asha Ali, the neighbour once came to visit his home as Abdulwakt recalls, to catch-up with local Zanzibar gossip, she was immediately put to a stop and asked to leave. You can imagine what a character he was !!
According to Rashid, his close friends who visited him were the former President of Zanzibar, Alhaj Aboud Jumbe and the late Maalim Omar Zahraan.

The late Maalim Juma Aley was definitely a man of instinct, according to Abdulwakt Juma ( his favourite son who was a footballer in the 1980’s) and to whom he dedicated his 2nd book, “Zanzibar: IN THE CONTEXT” with memorable words, ” To”Abdul” Play the game, Be a good winner, and a good looser, would recall stories from his father, during the 1960s and mid 1970s when he was detained in Ukonga Prison, Dar es Salaam. According to Abdulwakt, when the day came, the government had consider his release, no one was informed.
The night prior to his release, he woke up at 2:00 am, he began reciting the Qur’an until morning, when the prison warden arrived early morning for routine inspection, they were surprised to see him already packed and ready for departure. They left Maalim Juma’s cell confused as they had no idea of what was in his mind. At about 9:00 am, then the Minister of Home Affairs, Hon Ali Hassan Mwinyi arrived at the main gate demanding for Maalim Juma. The guards and warden reported the matter to the Minister that Maalim Juma was waiting to be released today and his bags were packed. The Minister and guards were astonished as no member of the Prison was informed about the approval of his release except the government. They walked slowly to meet and greet him at his cell, and found Maalim Juma waiting for them like a passenger ready to board a boat. Maalim Juma politely admitted that he had dreamt that night of his day waving goodbye to Ukonga had come. The Minister who later became the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, embraced him with tears of joy as they walked out of the Prison.

Enduring Links and Twenty One Years Leadership Contrasts and Similarities were his other books. Maalim Juma never managed to conclude his Part Two of Enduring Links; it was sent for editing and never returned.
As Abdulwakt says, As Maalim Juma was approaching his old age, it seemed that his mission to this world was not over yet, deep down inside him, their was a strong desire and feeling of wanting to write more.
The final month before he passed away, Maalim Juma Aley became a very quiet man with extreme emotions, he had time to bid his sons farewell, even hinting that his final moments were here. Maalim Juma Aley passed away at his favourite place, his home, a house that he had built dedicated for his much-loved wife “Shou” in 1995, a month after his 80th birthday. As he stated on his final line in Enduring Links, the facts of history remain as facts, so Maalim Juma Aley will always hold his place in the modern history of ZANZIBAR.

Simai Mohammed Said / Other materials researched on the net.