Crocodiles guard secrets of Pakistan’s lost African past

Dancing and chanting in Swahili at a crocodile shrine outside Karachi, hundreds of Pakistani Sheedis swayed barefoot to the rhythm…

Dancing and chanting in Swahili at a crocodile shrine outside Karachi, hundreds of Pakistani Sheedis swayed barefoot to the rhythm of a language they no longer speak — the celebration offering a rare chance to connect with their African roots.

For many Sheedis, the swampy crocodile shrine to Sufi saint Haji Syed Shaikh Sultan — more popularly known as Mangho Pir — is the most potent symbol of their shared African past, as they struggle to uncover the trail that led their ancestors to Pakistan.

Many, like 75-year-old Mohammad Akbar, have simply given up the search for their family’s origins.

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