Saud bin Ahmed Al Busaidi has lived through two world wars, the Zanzibari fight for independence, the rise of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, and now, at the age of 98, he decided to write about his life.
Al Busaidi’s book Memoirs of An Omani Gentleman from Zanzibar was launched Tuesday night at Bait Al Zubair under the patronage of HE Sayyid Saud bin Hilal Al Busaidi. A crowd of 250 people filled the hall as Al Busaidi spoke about the book.
“It gives me great pleasure to be with you here tonight for the launch of my little book,” Al Busaidi said. “I hope it will be as much of a pleasure to read as it was to write.”
Memoirs of An Omani Gentleman from Zanzibar, written with the assistance of local author Jane Jaffer and edited by Dr. Patricia Groves, records history from a personal perspective. Al Busaidi writes about his childhood in Zanzibar, the changing colonial powers, and his return to Oman in 1971, for which he is most grateful to His Majesty the Sultan.
“Without His Majesty’s remarkable wisdom and his great concern for the people of this country, the Sultanate of Oman would not be the wonderful country that it is today,” Al Busaidi said.
Al Busaidi dedicated his book to his granddaughter, Roya Salim Al Lamki, who loved listening to his stories and encouraged him to write the book. He said he hoped she would inherit a world of greater peace and understanding.
“I was surprised. I didn’t think he’d make such a big deal of me trying to encourage him to write the book, but I am grateful and he’s a lovely grandfather and a good role model,” Al Lamki said.
Al Lamki also said that not only were visits with her grandfather the highlights of her weekends growing up, but that he inspired in her a love of reading books.
The book, published by Al Roya Publishing, will also contribute to the recorded history of Oman and its people. Publisher Hatim Al Taie described it as an “engaging tale” that is “straight from the heart.”
“My aim as a publisher has been to highlight people, stories and cultures that I grew up with,” said Al Taie, adding it was time to replace oral tradition with printed words.
Khalifa Al Hinai, secretary of the Historical Association of Oman, said the book highlights the important ties between Oman and Zanzibar. It also provides an interesting perspective, since Al Busaidi served as chief courtier to Sultan Khalifa bin Haroub, who ruled Zanzibar for 55 years.
Al Hinai said the book would bring back memories and shed light on events that happened in Zanzibar, and open the eyes of the generations that came after Zanzibar’s independence.
“I wish Saud all the best, and may his book be a great success,” Al Hinai said.
Times of Oman