The postal history of East Africa spans from a time when early missionaries in then British East Africa sent letters by runner to forwarding agents in Zanzibar. Letters are known from as early as 1848 and from 1875 mail were sent via the Indian post office which had been opened in Zanzibar.
The Imperial British East Africa Company was the first company holding a Royal Charter allowing operation of a postal system, for both local and international mail, to use their company name on their stamps. They were also the first to create a series of surcharged stamps with authorizing initials. Both of these led to the adoption of these practices by other countries such as the British South Africa Company and the Mozambique Company in 1892 and the surcharged Uganda typewritten stamps in 1895.
Some of the stamps from the era were:
With letters no longer the necessity they once were, postage stamps are a nostalgic reminder of a time when letter writing was the principal means of communication. The artwork that has gone into more than a century of correspondence displays the textures and style of each era. They feature historic people, sights and culture that make stamp collecting so enthralling for collectors.
Although stamps are almost obsolete in their practical usage the cultural richness they preserve has drawn Kenyan digital artist Jacque Njeri to launch a project on her Instagram under the moniker @Fruit_Junkie that showcases stamps in a very special way. She has created a sequence she calls the ‘Stamp Series’, where she uniquely redesigns old African stamps adding something new to something borrowed and old.