Coordinates: Country Tanzania Islands Unguja and Pemba Capital Zanzibar City Settled AD 1000 Government – Type semi-autonomous part of Tanzania – President Ali Mohammed Shein Area – Total 2,643 km2 (1,020.5 sq mi) Population (2004) – Total 1,070,000 Zanzibar Native name: Zang bar (Rust-land) Geography Location Indian Ocean Area 984 km2 (379.9 sq mi) CountryTanzania Region Zanzibar Largest city Wete Demographics Population 362,000 (as of census 2002) Density 428 /km2 (1,109 /sq mi)
Zanzibar ( //; Persian: زنگبار, from suffix bār: "coast" and Zangi: "bruin" (iron after rust); Arabic: زنجبار Zanjibār) is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, in East Africa. It comprises the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, 25–50 kilometres (16–31 mi) off the coast of the mainland, and consists of numerous small islands and two large ones: Unguja (the main island, informally referred to as Zanzibar), and Pemba. Other nearby island countries and territories include Comoros and Mayotte to the south, Mauritius and Réunion to the far southeast, and the Seychelles Islands about 1,500 km to the east. Arab and Portuguese traders visited the region in early times, and it was controlled by Omanis in the 18th and 19th centuries. Britain established a protectorate (1890) that became an independent sultanate in December 1963 and a republic after an uprising in January 1964. In April 1964 it joined Tanganyika to form a new republic that was renamed Tanzania in October 1964. (Frommers, 2002) The capital of Zanzibar, located on the island of Unguja, is Zanzibar City, and its historic centre, known as Stone Town, is a World Heritage Site.
Zanzibar's main industries are spices, raffia, and tourism. In particular, the islands produce cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper. For this reason, the islands, together with Tanzania's Mafia Island, are sometimes called the Spice Islands (a term also associated with the Maluku Islands in Indonesia). Zanzibar's ecology is of note for being the home of the endemic Zanzibar Red Colobus Monkey and the (possibly extinct) Zanzibar Leopard.
The presence of microlithic tools attests to at least 50,000 years of human occupation of Zanzibar. A Greco-Roman text between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD, the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, mentioned this island as Menuthias. The islands became part of the historical record of the wider world when Persian traders discovered them and used them as a base for voyages between the Middle East, India, and Africa. Unguja, the larger island, offered a protected and defensible harbor, so although the archipelago offered few products of value, the Persians settled at what became Zanzibar City ("Stone Town") as a convenient point from which to trade with East African coastal towns.
During the Age of Exploration, the Portuguese Empire was the first European power to gain control of Zanzibar, and retained it for nearly 200 years. In 1698, Zanzibar fell under the control of the Sultanate of Oman, which developed an economy of trade and cash crops with a ruling Arab elite. Plantations were developed to grow spices, hence the term Spice Islands. Another major trade good for Zanzibar was ivory. The Sultan of Zanzibar controlled a substantial portion of the East African coast, known as Zanj; this included Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, and trading routes that extended much further inland, such as the route leading to Kindu on the Congo River. Zanzibar was famous worldwide for its spices and its slaves. It was East Africa's main slave-trading port, and in the mid-19th century as many as 50,000 slaves were passing annually through the slave markets of Zanzibar.
Sometimes gradually and sometimes by fits and starts, control of Zanzibar came into the hands of the British Empire; part of the political impetus for this was the 19th century movement for the abolition of the slave trade. The relationship between Britain and the German Empire, at that time the nearest relevant colonial power, was formalized by the 1890 Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty, in which Germany pledged not to interfere with British interests in insular Zanzibar. That year, Zanzibar became a protectorate (not a colony) of Britain. From 1890 to 1913, traditional viziers were appointed to govern as puppets, switching to a system of British residents (effectively governors) from 1913 to 1963. The death of the pro-British Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini on 25 August 1896 and the succession of Sultan Khalid bin Barghash of whom the British did not approve led to the Anglo-Zanzibar War. On the morning of 27 August 1896, ships of the Royal Navy destroyed the Beit al Hukum Palace. A cease fire was declared 38 minutes later, and to this day the bombardment stands as the shortest war in history.
The islands gained independence from Britain in December 1963 as a constitutional monarchy. A month later, the bloody Zanzibar Revolution, in which thousands of Arabs and Indians were killed in a genocide and thousands more expelled, led to the establishment of the Republic of Zanzibar and Pemba. That April, the republic was subsumed by the mainland former colony of Tanganyika. This United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar was soon renamed (as a portmanteau) the United Republic of Tanzania, of which Zanzibar remains a semi-autonomous region.
Government and politics
This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
- President (List)
- Vice President
- Prime Minister
- National Assembly
- Anne Makinda
- Political parties
- Elections: 2005, 2010
- Foreign relations
Zanzibar has a government of national unity, with the current president of Zanzibar being Ali Mohamed Shein, since 1 November 2010. As a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, Zanzibar has its own government, known as the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar. It is made up of the Revolutionary Council and House of Representatives.
The House of Representatives has a similar composition to the National Assembly of Tanzania: There are 50 members from electoral constituencies, directly elected by universal suffrage to serve five-year terms; 10 members appointed by the President of Zanzibar; 15 special seats for women; 5 Regional commissioners; and an attorney-general. Five of these 81 members are then elected to represent Zanzibar in the National Assembly of Tanzania.
Unguja comprises three administrative regions: Zanzibar Central/South, Zanzibar North and Zanzibar Urban/West. Pemba has two: Pemba North and Pemba South.
There are many political parties in Zanzibar, but the main Parties are the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and the Civic United Front (CUF). Since the early 1990s, the politics of the archipelago have been marked by repeated clashes between these two political parties. Contested elections in late 2000 led to a massacre in Zanzibar in January 2001 when the government shot into crowds of protestors, killing 35 and injuring 600. Violence erupted again in 2005 after another contested election, with the CUF claiming that its rightful victory had been stolen from them. Following 2005, negotiations between the two parties aiming at the long-term resolution of the tensions and a power-sharing accord took place, but they suffered repeated setbacks. The most notable of these took place in April 2008, when the CUF walked away from the negotiating table following a CCM call for a referendum to approve of what had been presented as a done deal on the power-sharing agreement.
In October 2009, the former president of Zanzibar, Amani Abeid Karume, met with CUF secretary Seif Sharif Hamad, who is currently the first vice president of Zanzibar, at the State House to discuss how to save Zanzibar from future political turmoil and to end the backlash between them, a move which was welcomed by many people including the USA and political parties. It was the first time since the multi-party system was introduced in Zanzibar that CUF agreed to recognize Karume as the legitimate president of Zanzibar.
The relationship between Zanzibar government and Tanzanian Mainland hasn't been so good in recent years since Tanzania Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda's remark about the Isles' strong sovereignty that Zanzibar is not an independent country outside the Union Government, within which it can only exercise its sovereignty. Members from both the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), and the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) disagreed with Mr Pinda's interpretation and stand firmly in recognizing Zanzibar as a fully autonomous and full state, the move which is widely unrecognized by the formation of the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania which raises a backlash between Members of Parliament from the Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar.
In 2008, Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete tried to silence the matter when he addressed the nation in a live conference by saying that Zanzibar is a state internal but semi-state international.
A proposal to amend Zanzibar’s laws to allow rival parties to form governments of national unity was adopted by 66.4 per cent of voters, after official results of a referendum which was held on July 31, 2010.
Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) Chairman said 293,039 (or 71.9 per cent) out of 407,667 people registered for the referendum actually turned up at polling stations across the Isles to cast their votes. He said a total of 284,318 valid votes were cast, with 188,705 (or 66.4 per cent) voting YES for a Government of National Unity and 95,613 opposed to the proposition and 8,721 were spoilt.
Geography, weather, and climate
Zanzibar is located in the Indian Ocean, 6° south of the equator and 36 km from the Tanzanian mainland coast, It is 108 km long and 32 .km wide. with an area of 2,461 km2 (950 sq mi) Zanzibar is mainly low lying, its highest point is 120 metres. It is in the UTC +3 time zone, and does not use Daylight Saving Time. Zanzibar is characterised by beautiful sandy beaches with fringing coral reefs, and the magic of historic Stone Town – said to be the only functioning ancient town in East Africa. The coral reefs that surround the East Coast are rich in marine diversity.
The heat of summer is seasonally often cooled by windy conditions, resulting in sea breezes, particularly on the North and East coasts. Being near to the equator, the islands are warm all year round, but officially, summer and winter peak in December and June respectively.
Short rains can occur in November but are characterised by short showers which do not last long. The long rains normally occur in April and May although this is often referred to as the 'Green Season', and it typically does not rain every day during that time.
The main island of Zanzibar, Unguja, has a fauna which reflects its connection to the African mainland during the last Ice Age. Endemic mammals with continental relatives include the Zanzibar red colobus, one of Africa's rarest primates, the Zanzibar red colobus may number only about 1500. Isolated on this island for at least 1,000 years, the Zanzibar red colobus (Procolobus kirkii) is recognized as a distinct species, with different coat patterns, calls and food habits than related colobus species on the mainland.
Zanzibar red colobus live in a wide variety of drier areas of coastal thickets and coral rag scrub, as well as mangrove swamps and agricultural areas. About one third of the red colobus live in and around Jozani Forest- Ironically, the easiest monkeys to see are on farm land adjacent to the reserve. They are used to people and the low vegetation means they come close to the ground.
Rare native animals include the Zanzibar leopard, which is critically endangered and possibly extinct; and the recently described Zanzibar servaline genet. There are no large wild animals in Zanzibar, and forest areas such as Jozani are inhabited by monkeys, bush-pigs, small antelopes, civets, and, rumor has it, the elusive Zanzibar leopard. Various species of mongoose can also be found on the island. There is a wide variety of birdlife, and a large number of butterflies in rural areas. Pemba island is separated from Unguja island and the African continent by deep channels and has a correspondingly restricted fauna, reflecting its comparative isolation from the mainland. Its best-known endemic is the Pemba Flying Fox.
According to the most recent census of 2002, the total population of Zanzibar was 984,625 – with a steady annual growth rate of 3.1%. According to that census the population of Zanzibar City, which is the largest city, is approximately 205,870. The people of Zanzibar are of diverse ethnic origins. The first permanent residents of Zanzibar seem to have been the ancestors of the Hadimu and Tumbatu, who began arriving from the East African mainland around AD 1000. They belonged to various mainland ethnic groups, and on Zanzibar they lived in small villages and did not coalesce to form larger political units. Because they lacked central organization, they were easily subjugated by outsiders.
Ancient pottery demonstrates existing trade routes with Zanzibar as far back as the time of the ancient Assyrians. Traders from Arabia, as well as the Persian Gulf region of modern-day Iran (especially Shiraz), and west India, probably visited Zanzibar as early as the 1st century. They used the monsoon winds to sail across the Indian Ocean to land at the sheltered harbor located on the site of present-day Zanzibar City.
Zanzibar is mostly populated by African people of Swahili origin, but there is also a minority population of Asians, originally from India and Arab countries. A significant proportion of people also identify as Shirazi.
According to the 2002 census, around two thirds of the people – 622,459 – live on Zanzibar Island (Unguja), with the greatest proportion settled in the densely populated west. Besides Zanzibar City, other towns on Zanzibar Island include Chaani, Mbweni, Mangapwani, Chwaka, and Nungwi. Outside of these towns, most people live in small villages and are engaged in farming or fishing.
On Pemba Island, the overall settlement pattern is similar to that of the main island. The largest town is Chake-Chake, with a population of 19,283; other smaller towns are Wete and Mkoani. The other island of Zanzibar, Mafia, has a total population of about 40,801.
Considerable disparities exist in the standard of living for inhabitants of Pemba and Unguja, as well as the disparity between urban and rural populations. The average annual income of just US$250 hides the fact that about half the population lives below the poverty line. Despite a relatively high standard of primary health care and education, infant mortality is still 83 in 1,000 live births, and it is estimated that malnutrition affects one in three of Zanzibar's people. Life expectancy at birth is 48 years, which is significantly lower than the 2010 world average of 67.2. While the incidence of HIV/AIDS is considerably less in Zanzibar than in Tanzania as a whole (0.6% of the population, as against the national average of around 8%), it is a growing problem.
There are 51 mosques, and muezzins invoke before the prayer time. There are also six Catholic churches as well as an Anglican Cathedral in Zanzibar's multi-ethnic town (Stone Town). There are many burial places around the outskirts with interesting headstones and graves, and some important graves in the town itself, usually of religious leaders of the past. There are also Evangelical Christian churches in Zanzibar Town. Some distance from Zanzibar Town are other Christian churches such as Evangelistic Assemblies of God Zanzibar (EAGZ) which is at Kijito Upele-Fuoni Zanzibar, pioneered by the Founder for Evangelical Movement in Zanzibar, Rev. Leonard Masasa. Another church is Tanzania Assemblies of God which is at Kariakoo. There are now more than 25 Evangelical churches in Zanzibar. There is also a small population of Bahá'ís. (See Bahá'í Faith in Tanzania.)
The clove, originating from the Moluccan Islands (today in Indonesia), was introduced in Zanzibar by the Omani sultans in the first half of the 19th century. Zanzibar, mainly Pemba Island, was once the world's leading clove producer, but annual clove sales have plummeted by 80% since the 1970s. Zanzibar's clove industry has been crippled by a fast-moving global market, international competition and a hangover from Tanzania's failed experiment with socialism in the 1960s and 1970s, when the government controlled clove prices and exports. Zanzibar now ranks a distant third with Indonesia supplying 75% of the world's cloves compared to Zanzibar's 7%.
Zanzibar exports spices, seaweed and fine raffia. It also has a large fishing and dugout canoe production. Tourism is a major foreign currency earner.
Zanzibar's economy is based primarily on the production of cloves (90% grown on the island of Pemba), the principal foreign exchange earner. Exports have suffered with the downturn in the clove market. Tourism is a promising sector with a number of new hotels and resorts having been built in recent years.
The Government of Zanzibar legalized foreign exchange bureaux on the islands before mainland Tanzania moved to do so. The effect was to increase the availability of consumer commodities. The government has also established a free port area, which provides the following benefits: contribution to economic diversification by providing a window for free trade as well as stimulating the establishment of support services; administration of a regime that imports, exports, and warehouses general merchandise; adequate storage facilities and other infrastructure to cater for effective operation of trade; and creation of an efficient management system for effective re-exportation of goods.
The island's manufacturing sector is limited mainly to import substitution industries, such as cigarettes, shoes, and processed agricultural products. In 1992, the government designated two export-producing zones and encouraged the development of offshore financial services. Zanzibar still imports much of its staple requirements, petroleum products, and manufactured articles.
During May and June 2008, Zanzibar suffered a major failure of its electricity system, which left the island without electricity for nearly a month. Another blackout happened from December 2009 to March 2010, due to a problem with the submarine cables and the local plant. This led to a serious and ongoing shock to the island's fragile economy, which is heavily dependent on foreign tourism. In 2000, the annual income per capita was US$220.
There is also a possibility of oil availability in Zanzibar on the island of Pemba, and efforts have been made by the Tanzanian Government and Zanzibar revolutionary Government to exploit what could be one of the most significant discoveries in recent memory. Oil would help boost the economy of Zanzibar, but there have been disagreements about dividends between the Tanzanian mainland and Zanzibar, the latter claiming the oil should be excluded in Union matters. A Norwegian consultant has been sent to Zanzibar to investigate its oil potential.
In 2000 there were 207 government schools and 118 privately owned schools in Zanzibar. There are also two universities and one college: Zanzibar University, the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) and the Chukwani College of Education.
SUZA was established in 1999, and is located in Stone Town, in the buildings of the former Institute of Kiswahili and Foreign Language (TAKILUKI). It is the only public institution for higher learning in Zanzibar, the other two institutions being private. In 2004, the three institutions had a total enrollment of 948 students, of whom 207 were female.
The primary and secondary education system in Zanzibar is slightly different than that of the Tanzanian mainland. On the mainland, education is only compulsory for the seven years of primary education, while in Zanzibar an additional three years of secondary education are compulsory and free. Students in Zanzibar score significantly less on standardized tests for reading and mathematics than students on the mainland.
In the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, national service after secondary education was necessary, but it is now voluntary and few students volunteer. Most choose to seek employment or attend teacher's colleges.
Zanzibar has a total road network of 1,600 kilometres of roads, of which 85% are tarmacked or semi-tarmacked. The remainder are earth roads, which are rehabilitated annually to make them passable throughout the year. There is no public transport owned by the government at the moment in Zanzibar, but the Daladala (as it is officially known in Zanzibar) is the only kind of public transport owned by private owners; the term Daladala originated from the swahili word DALA or five shillings during the 1970s and 80s (at that time public transport cost five shillings).
Zanzibar now has an improved and thriving sea transport network, by which public owned ships and private speed boats serve the ports of Zanzibar, which was renovated by the help of European Union. There are five ports in the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba. The Zanzibar Port Corporation (ZPC) is a public entity, which has full autonomy for operation and development of ports. The wharves of the main seaport were constructed in 1989–1991 with financial assistance from the European Union. The port handles more than 90% of Zanzibar trade. Malindi port was built in 1925 as a modest lighter port.
The port is in a poor state in terms of infrastructure (quays, container stacking yard, etc.) as well as very limited operational area and storage facilities. Several assessments of the Malindi port's condition were made between 1995 and 2001. However, no repair works has been done resulting in further deterioration of the wharves. The main port wharf has deteriorated to the extent that it can no longer be repaired.
Recent accidents occurred in May 2009, when a cargo vessel sank before departing for Dar-es Salaam. It is still unclear how many people lost their lives, as is the cause of the accident. It took more than a week to rescue and lift the vessel. Another incident on September 11, 2011, where the MV Spice Islander sank after departing from Stone Town for Pemba Island, after a journey from Dar-es-Salaam. It was reportedly severely overloaded and 205 people lost their lives, with around 600 rescued. Zanzibar is well connected to the rest of the world. Zanzibar's main airport, Zanzibar International Airport, can now handle larger planes, which has resulted in an increase in passenger and cargo inflows and outflows.
The energy sector in Zanzibar consists of unreliable electric power, petroleum and petroleum products; it is also supplemented by firewood and its related products. Coal and gas are rarely used for either domestic and industrial purposes. Zanzibar gets 70 percent of its electric power needs from mainland Tanzania through a submarine cable, and the rest (for Pemba) is thermally generated.
The Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar and the Government of Norway signed an agreement in August, 2008 whereby Norway agreed to provide funds for the Tanga-Pemba Sub Sea Cable Project, which will enable Pemba Island to receive electricity from the National Grid from the Tanga Region; the laying of a 40 megawatts marine cable started in December 2009. Between 70 and 75% of the electricity generated is used domestically while less than 20 percent is used industrially. Fuel wood, charcoal and kerosene are widely used as sources of energy for cooking and lighting for most rural and urban areas. The consumption capacity of petroleum, gas, oil, kerosene and IDO is increasing annually, going from a total of 5,650 tons consumed in 1997 to more than 7,500 tons in 1999. Zanzibar suffered its second major blackout on December 10 to March 23, 2010, 2009, and the Tanzanian island's energy ministry says it is unclear when the problem will be fixed. The first major blackout, which left the islanders powerless and entirely dependent on alternative methods of electricity generation (mainly diesel generators), was from May 21 to June 19, 2008. The mainland, where the fault originated, managed to be restored at the same time.
Culture and language
Zanzibar's local people are from a mixture of ethnic backgrounds, indicative of its colourful history. Zanzibaris speak Swahili (known locally as Kiswahili), a language which is spoken extensively in East Africa. Many[who?] believe that the purest form is spoken in Zanzibar, as it is the birthplace of the language. Many locals also speak English.
Zanzibar's most famous event is the Zanzibar International Film Festival, also known as the Festival of the Dhow Countries. Every July, this event showcases the best of the Swahili Coast arts scene, including Zanzibar's favorite music, Taarab.
Important architectural features in Stone Town are the Livingstone house, The Old dispensary of Zanzibar , the Guliani Bridge, Ngome kongwe (The Old fort of Zanzibar) and the House of Wonders. The town of Kidichi features the Hamamni Persian Baths, built by immigrants from Shiraz, Iran during the reign of Barghash bin Said.
Zanzibar also is the only place in Eastern African countries to have the longest settlement houses formally known as Michenzani flats which were built by the aid from East Germany during 1970's to solve housing problems in Zanzibar.
Media and communication
Zanzibar was the first region in Africa to introduce colour television, in 1973. The first television service on mainland Tanzania was not introduced until some twenty years later, but it currently ranks low among African countries due to poor services offered and lack of modern production tools as well as experienced staff. The current TV station is called TVZ. There are about 8 private radio stations.
Among the famous reporters of TVZ during the 1980s and 1990s were the late Alwiya Alawi 1961–1996 (the elder sister of Inat Alawi, famous Taarab singer during the 1980s), Neema Mussa, Sharifa Maulid, Fatma Mzee, Zaynab Ali, Ramadhan Ali, and Khamis
In terms of communication, Zanzibar is well served by the newly restructured public telecommunication company (TTCL) and four privately owned mobile systems. Through these systems, the whole of Zanzibar (Unguja and Pemba) is widely covered and connected to most parts of the world.
Zanzibar Telecommunicatio known as Zantel was the first and only Zanzibar based Tele-communication company since 1999 before relocating its main headquarters to the Mainland. Almost all Mobile and Internet companies served in Mainland Tanzania are available in Zanzibar.
Football is the most popular Sport in Zanzibar, overseen by the Zanzibar Football Association. Zanzibar is an associate member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF). This means that the Zanzibar national football team is not eligible to enter national CAF competitions, such as the African Nations Cup, but Zanzibar's Football Clubs get representation at the CAF Confederation Cup and the CAF Champions League.
The national team participates in non-FIFA Football tournaments such as the FIFI Wild Cup, and the ELF Cup. Because Zanzibar is not a member of FIFA, their team is not eligible for the FIFA World Cup.
The Zanzibar Football Association also has a Premier League for the top clubs, which was created in 1981.
Since 1992, there has also been Judo in Zanzibar. The founder, Mr. Tsuyoshi Shimaoka established a strong team which participates in national and international competitions. In 1999, Zanzibar Judo Association (Z.J.A.) was registered and became an active member of Tanzania Olympic Committee.
- Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara) of the rock band Queen was born in Zanzibar.
- Farouque Abdillahi, who was Princess Diana's designer
Cloves have played a significant role in the history of Zanzibar's economy
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- Revolution in Zanzibar, Don Petterson (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 2002)
- Memoirs of an Arabian Princess from Zanzibar, Emily Ruete, 1888. (Many reprints). Author (1844–1924) was born Princess Salme of Zanzibar and Oman and was a daughter of Sayyid Said.
- Banani: the Transition from Slavery to Freedom in Zanzibar and Pemba, H. S. Newman, (London, 1898)
- Travels in the Coastlands of British East Africa, W. W. A. FitzGerald, (London, 1898)
- Zanzibar in Contemporary Times, R. N. Lyne, (London, 1905)
- Pemba: The Spice Island of Zanzibar, J. E. E. Craster, (London, 1913)
- Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, and Tanzania under Mwalimu Nyerere: Reflections on an African Statesman, Godfrey Mwakikagile, (Pretoria, South Africa: New Africa Press, 2006)
- Hatice Uğur, Osmanlı Afrikası'nda Bir Sultanlık: Zengibar (Zanzibar as a Sultanate in the Ottoman Africa), İstanbul: Küre Yayınları, 2005. kureyayinlari.com For its English version, see Boun.edu
- Challenges of Informal Urbanisation. The Case of Zanzibar/Tanzania, Wolfgang Scholz (Dortmund 2008) Amazon.de
Portuguese Empire British Empire and Commonwealth of Nations Tanzania topics History Politics Geography Economy and infrastructure Demographics and society Culture Zanzibar
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