Brian May Shares Photos from 'Pilgrimage' to Freddie Mercury's Childhood Home in Zanzibar
Brian May shared photos from his trip to bandmate Freddie Mercury's childhood home in Zanzibar
The legendary rock guitarist — who recently revealed the band hasn’t “earned a penny” from the billion-dollar success of hit movie Bohemian Rhapsody — is currently touring Mercury’s native Zanzibar on what he calls “a pilgrimage.”
“This [is] something I dreamed of doing for many years,” May, 71, posted on Instagram alongside an image of him cuddling his wife, actress Anita Dobson, outside Mercury’s elementary school on the east African island on Tuesday.
“At Freddie’s school. Under guidance from Freddie’s lovely sister Kashmira’s, and Abdul, our excellent Zanzibarian guide, we managed to retrace many of Freddie’s childhood steps,” May added. “Nice to share with you folks.”
Earlier in the day, May also posted photos from outside Mercury’s childhood home in a historic part of Zanzibar city known as Stone Town. The family apartment block has since been transformed into the Tembo House Hotel: AKA Freddie Mercury House.
“This is the building where Freddie and his sister Kashmira lived when they were young. A pilgrimage!!!” posted May.
Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar’s Government Hospital on Sept. 5, 1946. At the age of 8, however, his parents sent him to St. Peter’s Church of England school in Mumbai, India.
It was here that he discovered his love of music and formed his first band, The Hectics.
The Radio Ga Ga singer returned to Zanzibar in 1963 on what proved to be a short-lived stay: Within a year a revolution had forced the Bulsara family to flee the islands and Mercury ultimately found his way to London.
While the singer didn’t speak openly about his life in Zanzibar, Queen fans can now enjoy guided tours around his boyhood haunts — including his family’s apartment and their place of worship, Zoroastrian temple. There’s also a Freddie Mercury restaurant and gift shop.
Thankfully for May, Zanzibar is also now far safer than when Mercury’s family were forced to flee in the 1960s.
“Hi folks. today I want to share. I’m in a beautiful place, where people live simple lives – Muslim, Christian, Hindu all side by side in harmony,” May posted in a cryptic message prior to revealing his location.
“Crime is virtually non-existent. So why can’t the whole world be like this?” he added. “This morning I’m making a special journey — the real reason I came here.”
“We’ve enjoyed spending the day with this little boy in our minds. A small boy with big dreams. A young man who became a brother to Roger and John and me for 22 years. A shy boy with whom we shared an impossible vision of making music that would change the world,” May wrote in a final emotional post dedicated to his late friend.
“Little did we dare to believe it would actually happen.”
Bohemian Rhapsody surpassed the $1 billion mark with $1,088,018,915 at the worldwide box office as of April 14, according to IMDb Pro.
The musical biopic based on Mercury’s career also resonated with Academy Award voters, helping the film score four Oscars out of its five nominations, including a Best Actor Oscar for Rami Malek.