Zefe is a term used to explain the celebrations done annually by muslims in Coastal Kenya to commemorate the prophet Muhammad( Peace Be Upon Him) on his birthmonth, Rabiul-awwal, according to the lunar Islamic calendar.
The ceremony zefe refers to groups of muslim men walking down the streets, clud in beautiful kanzus and beating tamborines and singing praise for the prophet(Peace Be Upon Him). It is such a lively, uplifting and soul-cleansing scene to behold!
Guys actually dance sometimes, in choreographic manner as they praise a prophet they never saw or met but because they love him oh so dearly so much that it becomes watching them so awe-inspiring!
It is the month of the prophet Muhammad(Peace Be Upon Him). You feel it in your neighbour’s smile, in the mosques, in the daily salah, in the recitation of the Quran. Even the air smells like Muhammad! Indeed it is his month and his day today!
This month, which today marks its 12th day, has always been the historical festive maulid season for muslims living in the Coast and so many people travel to the Coast to watch zefe and attend maulid ceremonies across Lamu, Mombasa and Malindi!
The streets are filled with praise and song and women clud in their buibuis watch in anticipation and amazement as they follow the singing crowd from the mosques, across the streets and back to the mosques. You could hear the singing and beating of tamborines all the way from inside the houses and cars and traffic give way to the congregation in the streets while some men sprinkle perfumed rose water on the singing men and boys clud in beautiful and colorful garments!
It is indeed a soulful and merry sight to behold!