Migingo – one of the most populous islands in the world! 10/11/2015 • vicki
Migingo Island is situated amid Lake Victoria in Africa. Its area is only 1.8 km2 or 0.45 acres. However, the population of the island is about 131 people!
This rocky island was inhabited only in 1991 when two Kenyan fishermen Dalmas Tembo and George Kibebe were brave enough to organize a colony there. The thing is that Africans who lived nearby Victoria Lake believed that the island was a house to an evil spirit. Before getting ashore the fishermen asked a local wizard to lay the spirit. Later the men confessed they had to give almost 300 kg of fish to the wizard for this ritual.
After that, about 60 more people from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania joined the two courageous men. They were determined to create a commune without injustice and evil. By 2009 the population had reached the number of 131 people and “honorable senators” Tembo and Kibebe, made a decision not to allow any more people into their community.
The inhabitants earn their living mostly by fishing. Nile perch is the main catch here. Every week a family may earn about 200-250 dollars. This is an average income that an African family from neighboring countries can get for two or three months.
It’s hard to believe, but the tiny piece of land is a disputed territory between Kenya and Uganda. This fact actually helps the commune to stay more or less independent.
During the last 20 years there were about 9 armed conflicts between the two countries because of the island. At first coast guards of both countries broke the commune’s boats, tore apart their nets and even shot dead 6 people. Then it was decided that the commune should pay special taxes to both countries.
Despite these taxes (about 50% of their income) Migingo people live much better than their neighbors. There are 5 bars, a beauty salon, a drugstore, a couple of motels and 4 brothels on the island! According to the commune rules a person from the outside cannot stay on the island for more than one day.
The founders of the commune, Tembo and Kibebe, are the honorable senators for the life term. There are also five elected senators (only men above 30). The maximum penalty on the island is an exile. During the 20 years of its existence the commune expelled 6 people for theft.
There is another island located near Migingo. Being almost thrice as large, Usingo is still uninhabited: Africans believe that another evil spirit lives there.
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