Zanzibar Authorities has built a tourism industry out of the country status as Freddie Mercury
's birthplace. But, as Vice
points out (via Ultimate Classic Rock
), however, it's more than a little hypocritical.
As Vice reporter Eleanor Ross
points out in her piece, Mercury's homosexuality - and overall flamboyant lifestyle - stood in direct opposition to the cultural limits Zanzibar's government seeks to impose. Of course, that hasn't stopped its residents from actively reaping the economic benefits of their association. "I like Freddie Mercury very much. He brings much money to this island, because many Americans and British people come to visit his birthplace,"
one tour company employee told Ross. "This is good because it means I can buy my sons a television that they want. But in my religion it is not good to be a man with a man. The new laws in Uganda are right. These people should be punished because what they are doing is ungodly."
As the article points out, Mercury - born Farrokh Bulsara
- only lived in Zanzibar until 1964, when the future Queen frontman, still bring a teenager, moved to England with his family and never went back. Tours dedicated to his time there are still popular, however, and they continue to draw an increasing number of visitors, many of whom don't care to follow the local customs, possibly helping set the stage for a brewing culture clash between traditional and Western values. "Although I love the tourists coming, I do worry about the way of life here,"
another tour guide added. "Will it become the West? Who knows."