The Lusosphere: Mozambique


Mozambique has a rich pre-colonial history that is worth reading, if you’re interested: Here.
But since the purpose of this series is to focus on the Portuguese discoveries, we shall immediately address the Colonial History of my birth country.

1497: Vasco da Gama arrives in Mozambique; more specifically in the Inhambane Province – to which he calls “Land of the good people” (since the natives were so welcoming).

1530-1544: The first Portuguese settlements were built in Sena; in Tete and in Quelimane (in the coast of the Indian Ocean), which took over the path between the mines and the ocean.

1600-1607: Portugal starts sending to Mozambique settlers that started getting married to the daughters of the local chiefs, thus creating powerful lineages (due to their commercial and agricultural ties).


Portugal had a hard time controlling Mozambique because this region was composed of 3 main empires:

The Empire of the Mwenemutapas (that were located at the South of the Zambezi River - between the Plateau of Zimbabwe and the Indian Ocean - and controlled a lot of mines, and the metallurgy of gold and iron).
The Empire of the Marave (located at the North of the Zambezi River; known for being a matrilineal society, for its agriculture and its organised army).
The Empire of Gaza (that covered the whole coastal area between the Zambezi and Maputo Rivers; and had its capital in Manjacaze [in what is today Gaza]. This empire controlled the commerce of ivory and did not engage in the commerce of slaves, like others did).

Meanwhile (during the XIX century), several European companies are established in Quelimane to buy peanuts, sesame and copra (to supply the new-born industries of oil and soap mainly). In the third quarter of the century, slavery is abolished (by royal decree) and, thus, Mozambique is transformed into a producer of goods (both for local consumption and exportation - to the metropolis). The British and the Dutch express (in the Berlim Conference - for the apportionment of Africa) the desire to take over the territory.

Portugal only takes absolute control of the nation, as a whole, in 1900 (after it fights against Gugunhana - the last Emperor of Gaza - for 6 years, since he did not sympathise with the Portuguese and, on top of everything, granted the rights to explore his mines to the British Company, base in South Africa.)


During the first ¾ of the XX century, Mozambique sees its natives being disrespected (ex: each recruited worker, by South African mines, had to give half of its salary [in gold] to the colony; they were not to profess animism any longer [the Catholic Church had task of educating the indigenous, i.e. assimilating them]; the natives were repressed while the poor citizens in the metropolis were encouraged to emigrate to Mozambique); it witnesses a mild industrialization; it goes through a liberation war (1964-1974); and it achieves its independence on the 25th of June of 1975 (under the rule of a communist leader - Samora Machel, that nationalised any and everything). Most Portuguese citizens (and Mozambicans who didn't identify themselves with the new regime) migrated to Portugal, South Africa, Brazil and England.

1976-1990: Civil war.

(Train Station in Maputo)

Population
Mozambique has approximately 19,286,000 citizens (1999 data) - and its population growth rate is high despite the war, the natural disasters, endemic diseases and the epidemics.
It is a multiracial nation where multiple religions are professed (being the most common: Catholicism, Anglicanism, Evangelism, Islamism, Hinduism and Animism), notwithstanding it is quite customary to resort to witchcraft (there isn’t one Mozambican family that hasn’t, at least, one witch – either by lineage or by “trade”).

Language
The official national language is the Portuguese.
Other spoken languages are the Mozambican dialects: xiRonga (Maputo province); xiChangana (Gaza province); xiChope & biTonga (Ihambane province); xiSena (Beira province); eChuwabo (Quelimane); eMacua (Nampula, Nhakala, Mozambique Island) and kiSwahili (Cabo Delgado and Niassa).

Music
The national musical identity is the Marrabenta. This word derives from the Portuguese word "rebentar", meaning "to break" - a reference to guitar strings that snapped quickly (the instruments was made out of tin cans and pieces of wood).
Marrabenta is usually sung in xiRonga, although nowadays singers mix in the xiChangana, and its theme varies from social criticism to love. The most known Marrabenta singers are Fany Pfumo and Wazimbu (the purists, i.e. they sing in xiRonga only).
Nevertheless Mozambique also produces other traditional genres: Xigubu (warrior music/dance), Makwaela, and the Marimba (from Zavala – Ihambane Province).
Nowadays the nation also enjoys (and produces) Zouk, R&B, Jazz, Passada (a cousin of Kizomba), Kwaito (from South Africa), Kwasa-Kwassa (soukous) and Dzukuta.

This week, we will begin by listening to Wazimbu singing "Nwahulwana" (Night Bird). I had to ask my mother to translate this song for me, so that I could offer you a synopsis of the story he is telling:
“Maria is a beautiful young lady, who has a different man every night. So, Wazimbu asks "my sister, until when will you count men in the streets? If you continue like this, my darling, who will want to marry you?” And so he continues to express his sadness at her life style, and how she is wasting her life.”
Enjoy!



Next Stop: Brazil

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing Max. I'm learning more about your birth country. The song is sad but beautiful. I like it and I listened to it twice!

    I had a great weekend. I'm glad you're fine but I hope you're not too busy to take some time out. :)

    Take care dear! *hugs*

    ReplyDelete
  2. Max,
    Thank you for sharing this information. I enjoy history and learning more and your post was so helpful and interesting.I loved the song as well. Absolutely beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Max,

    A grand history lesson that covers a lot of ground. That flag is so interesting yet so telling.

    The train station has the most magnificent architecture, don't you think?

    "...(there isn’t one Mozambican family that hasn’t, at least, one witch – either by lineage or by “trade”)."

    This is fascinating. Is this the same thing as witch doctoring or is it another branch? Are witches feared or respected?

    My friend has a theory that English is spoken all over the world because of the influx of films, and American products. I was just wondering if they speak any English?

    All I can say is thank God for YouTube. It certainly makes history more palatable and definitely more fun.

    I love the timbre of Wazimbu's voice. It has a lot of passion, pain and frustration.

    Thank your mother for the translation too. It was helpful in listening to the layers of the song.

    Thanks for a historical post my dear.

    Mozambique Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Max, I visited parts of Portugal and value its timeless beauty and history. Your informative post reminds people there is always more to learn, and thankfully so. The way you embed videos and graphics is very clever as well.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Heyyyy!!! It's my Max! Another informative posts of you! Thanks for sharing with us what you know !

    It has been long time isn't it that i couldn't comment on your posts.But i'm happy to see that you wrote about Mozambique.
    Do you know, here in Turkey, sometimes some idiots use the word "Mozambique" in an insulting way when they're illustrating the weak countries(Actually they even know nothing about it). I heard a friend of me when he was talking "Oh what kind of parliament is this? Is here mozambique?" (Actually he's not aware of that the parliament works in mozambique is working much better than here:)
    Anyway, i want to end my comment by mentioning the lyrics of Bob Dylan( in which the exotic places of Mozambique is glorified)

    i like to spend some time in mozambique
    the sunny sky is aqua blue
    and all the couples dancing cheek to cheek
    ıt's very nice to stay a week or two
    and fall in love just me and you.

    Ps: Probably you won't be able to attend my wedding ceremony, but i'm sure you'd like to see my wedding dress try on pics in my blog!

    Hugs and kisses from Istanbul
    Burcu:)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey Liza :D!

    "Thanks for sharing Max. I'm learning more about your birth country. The song is sad but beautiful. I like it and I listened to it twice!"

    You are welcome, dear :). Ah, more is about to come on my birth country (I wasn't able to insert it all in this post)...stay tuned.
    This song is addictive, my Lord...

    "I had a great weekend. I'm glad you're fine but I hope you're not too busy to take some time out. :)"

    Ah, that is music to my ears - I am about to go to your site to ask how things went with the storm that went your way (I got worried) *nodding*.
    Girl, I haven't taken some time out in a long long time...but I will soon :).

    "Take care dear! *hugs*"

    Thank you *hugs*!

    Liza, thanks for your kindness and concern: you are sweet :D!

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey MW :D!

    It is my pleasure to share stuff with you guys *happy face*!

    I am just glad you liked it!

    Aaah, that song is gorgeous, indeed :)!

    MW, thank you so much for your input and support :D!

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Liara,

    You have visited Portugal? That is great, and I hope you liked it :D!
    Indeed, the beauty and history of this country is fascinating...even I am amazed by it sometimes (and I have practically grown up here).

    Thank you for your kind words and support: I appreciate it a lot :D!

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Lady A :D!

    "A grand history lesson that covers a lot of ground. That flag is so interesting yet so telling."

    Thank you so much *bowing*! That flag should be changed (just like they changed the national anthem recently) - it is so Frelimo (the ruling communist party).

    "The train station has the most magnificent architecture, don't you think?"

    Oh yes, I think so...Portugal has built some magnificent buildings there. I will be sharing some more architectural delights in that country (I could not put everything in this article), and some other Mozambican delights ;).

    "This is fascinating. Is this the same thing as witch doctoring or is it another branch? Are witches feared or respected?"

    Witch doctoring is another branch, and not everybody is a healer (although there are those who are both healers and witches, but it is rare since these have to be taught by a master, so to speak). It depends...there are witches who are respected (those who help others and do mostly good - these are the ones that received the gift by lineage) and those who are feared (those who harm people - and trust me, there are more of these in that nation; these are the ones who "bought" the gift [i.e.they forced their destiny which implies to make use of black magic and invoke some nasty spirits in order to have powers); and then you have those who are both respected (because they are well intentioned and kind) and feared (because they are really good in what they do - which can be frightning sometimes).
    lol Mozambique is full of interesting stories about witchcraft *nodding*...but I think they depend too much on it, and it is not good.

    "My friend has a theory that English is spoken all over the world because of the influx of films, and American products. I was just wondering if they speak any English?"

    LOL your friend says that? Well, it depends on what he considers "spoken English" (i.e. understand a word here and there, or to fluently speak it). There are countries that dubb movies (so people never listen to the original language)...and there are countries (like Portugal) that don't and the people took a lot of time to speak English, as a whole. I still remember the days when I was the only one who spoke it (in my class) - but now things have changed, thank God *praising the Lord*.
    But to answer you question: Mozambicans speak English because of their relationship with South Africa. Nevertheless, America has exerted some influence among the youth (which is reflected in modern artists' video clips).

    "All I can say is thank God for YouTube. It certainly makes history more palatable and definitely more fun."

    Amen, girl! LOL it does, doesn't it? Teachers should use it to make classes more fun and interesting.

    "I love the timbre of Wazimbu's voice. It has a lot of passion, pain and frustration."

    Me too. It is frustrating to see teenagers trading their bodies in exchange of gifts, paid rent etc (this is a reality in Mozambique). Wazimbu says the word "Tombi", in this song, meaning girls between 16/18 who have this kind of life there, and he is sad (because in the pre-independence era this never happened) just like any of us should *nodding*.
    Did you know that this song was introduced to the Western world by Sean Penn? I believe it is part of the soundtrack of "The Pledge"....

    "Thank your mother for the translation too. It was helpful in listening to the layers of the song."

    I shall do that: but you are welcome :D.

    "Thanks for a historical post my dear."

    Don't mention it, girl :D!

    Lady A, thank you a million times for your comment: I loved it :)!

    Maputo Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hey Burcu :D!

    "It's my Max! Another informative posts of you! Thanks for sharing with us what you know !"

    Thanks, girl :D! Aah, it's my pleasure to do so...

    "It has been long time isn't it that i couldn't comment on your posts.But i'm happy to see that you wrote about Mozambique."

    Darling, I know you have been super busy, so it is ok ;).
    Well, eventually I had to write about it (since I am touring all the Portuguese former colonies that speak Portuguese till this day).

    "Do you know, here in Turkey, sometimes some idiots use the word "Mozambique" in an insulting way when they're illustrating the weak countries(Actually they even know nothing about it)."

    LOL LOL really? No, I didn't know it at all.

    "I heard a friend of me when he was talking "Oh what kind of parliament is this? Is here mozambique?" (Actually he's not aware of that the parliament works in mozambique is working much better than here:)"

    LOL that was a good one...you know, sometimes I say that as well (when referring to the Portuguese parliament). But we must be fair: the Mozambicans are trying to improve their political scenario and their nation little by little...and since they have so much potential, I believe they will get there (eventually).

    "Anyway, i want to end my comment by mentioning the lyrics of Bob Dylan( in which the exotic places of Mozambique is glorified)"

    Ah yes, Bob Marley...he loved Mozambique, but I think Samora Machel forbade him from giving a concert there (because he smoked ganja): so silly, as if Mozambicans needed Bob Marley to smoke it (ganja in Moza is called "Suruma") *nodding*.

    "Ps: Probably you won't be able to attend my wedding ceremony, but i'm sure you'd like to see my wedding dress try on pics in my blog!"

    Darling, I will send you a message :). Word? You didn't...

    Burcu, my lovely friend, thank you so much for your input; it was extremely informative and kind :D!

    Hugs and kisses...

    ReplyDelete
  11. You are most welcome my dear. Thank you too for your concern. We were expecting a strong typhoon, thank God we only had showers, but worse in some areas. Classes have been suspended for 2 days though, and my son is quite hay about it, lol.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Max,

    Thank you for letting us know Mozambique.

    Legend has it that Mozambique's name is a result of the so-called lost in translation: when Vasco da Gama got at the port, he asked the name of the country and 2 traders understood that he was asking them their names...the answer was "Mussa and Bika". If this is not so, it is certainly a very beautiful story.

    Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world; however we believe that in 20 years, due to its potential, it can be considered an emergent country.

    We loved Wazimbu's song: it is very powerful (maybe due to the way he projects his voice) and melodious.

    The article is well written, structured and most of all comprehensible. Well done *bowing*!

    ReplyDelete
  13. What an interesting read as usual. I LOVE the video clip, btw. A sad song, sung beautifully and sadly. It's so soothing - his voice.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Max...

    Very interesting history that is made even more interesting by your usual eloquent delivery...

    I am struck by one word...”empire”...it is an fascinating word packed with various meanings by people. How would you define the concept of empire in the past and what it communicates today?

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  15. Partance où Sérénity relative.

    Hello Max
    (J'ai quelques soucis pour dialoguer avec la traduction google, de mes sites au votre, alors je passe par un moteur de recherche).
    J'ai une question en ce qui concerne la restitution des pays colonisés à leur indépendance.

    la colonialisation "sous cette forme" ayant pris fin, la plupart de ces pays ont sombré dans le chaos et l'horreur pendant des décénies.

    Les guerres tribales ont repris de plus belles.
    Pensez vous que nous avons (en tant que colonisateur) retardé ces pays dans leurs évolutions naturelles, ce qui expliquerait la reprise des guerres, où...
    nous les avons aidé à franchir trop rapidement un écart sous lequel il reste un vide qu'ils doivent combler en reprenant là où nous les avons détourné.?
    A bientôt.
    Partance.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Excellent again Max!! love learning about different cultures.

    The Music is sweet and thanks for the synopsis.

    Just so you know the special effect the guitar is using is called a chorus effect, gives the guitar a fat and sweet sound, I use it a lot on my guitar, excellent for acoustical work such as this song.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Liza :D!

    "You are most welcome my dear. Thank you too for your concern. We were expecting a strong typhoon, thank God we only had showers, but worse in some areas. Classes have been suspended for 2 days though, and my son is quite hay about it, lol."

    Thank God you only had some showers :D! LOL oh, I bet your son is happy happy :)!

    Thanks for having dropped by, Liza; it is always a pleasure to see you here :)!

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hey Circulus Ciceronis :D!

    "Thank you for letting us know Mozambique."

    It is my pleasure *bowing*!

    "Legend has it that Mozambique's name is a result of the so-called lost in translation: when Vasco da Gama got at the port, he asked the name of the country and 2 traders understood that he was asking them their names...the answer was "Mussa and Bika". If this is not so, it is certainly a very beautiful story."

    That is a nice legend, isn't it? I bet it is true...that kind of reaction is so Portuguesish lol...

    "Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world; however we believe that in 20 years, due to its potential, it can be considered an emergent country."

    True. I agree with you...the only thing they must do is to invest more in Education (which they have started to do) and Health (life expectancy is extremely low although birth rates are extremely high).

    "We loved Wazimbu's song: it is very powerful (maybe due to the way he projects his voice) and melodious."

    It is beautiful, isn't it? I love it.

    "The article is well written, structured and most of all comprehensible. Well done *bowing*! "

    Thank you so much *bowing*!

    C.C, grazie mille for your comment; it is always a pleasure :D!

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hey Amel :D!

    "What an interesting read as usual. I LOVE the video clip, btw. A sad song, sung beautifully and sadly. It's so soothing - his voice."

    Thanks, girl! Ah, that song is gorgeous!! It is soothing indeed.

    Gorgeous, thanks for having dropped by! :D

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi LS :D!

    "Very interesting history that is made even more interesting by your usual eloquent delivery..."

    Why, thank you, my friend *bowing*!

    "I am struck by one word...”empire”...it is an fascinating word packed with various meanings by people. How would you define the concept of empire in the past and what it communicates today?"

    Well, I assume you are speaking of Mozambican empires and what they mean today...in the past they were huge since they covered (what is today) Malawai and Zimbabwe, for example (in the case of the Mwenemutapa Empire), and they had huge economic power (due to the natural resources that sparkled the Portuguese, the British and Dutch eyes), behavioural and cultural influence (as recently discovered in some ruins in the border of Mozambique with Zimbabwe)...so, they dominated, in every sense, the region (thus being called empires).
    What does this past communicate today? To me, it communicates exactly that: they were empires and Portugal saw them as such (otherwise it wouldn't give itself the trouble to marry Portuguese citizens to the African aristocracy in order to form powerful lineages - even though I suspect they did so in order to better conquer the land...everybody knows that the Portuguese used the mulattoes to conquer many things in Africa).
    Why? You do not see them as empires?

    LS, thanks a million for your comment...you are great :D!

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  21. Salut Sérénity :D!

    "(J'ai quelques soucis pour dialoguer avec la traduction google, de mes sites au votre, alors je passe par un moteur de recherche)."

    Pas de probléme...vous pouvez dialoguer en Français: ça va! :)

    "J'ai une question en ce qui concerne la restitution des pays colonisés à leur indépendance."

    Allez-y...

    "la colonialisation "sous cette forme" ayant pris fin, la plupart de ces pays ont sombré dans le chaos et l'horreur pendant des décénies."

    Là, vous avez completement raison...

    "Les guerres tribales ont repris de plus belles."

    Oui...

    "Pensez vous que nous avons (en tant que colonisateur) retardé ces pays dans leurs évolutions naturelles, ce qui expliquerait la reprise des guerres, où...nous les avons aidé à franchir trop rapidement un écart sous lequel il reste un vide qu'ils doivent combler en reprenant là où nous les avons détourné.?"

    Je pense pas qu'on ait retardé ces pays dans leurs évolutions naturelles; ce qu'on a bien fait c'était de faire un trés chér (et irrespectueux) échange avec eux: on les a apporté des technologies, de la mode, des plusieurs codes de conduite, de la litérature (oui, parce que jusqu'á aujourd-hui beaucoup de pays Africains n'ont même pas un grammaire de ses plusieurs dialectes - mon pays de naissance, Moçambique, a seulement une grammaire [de xiRonga, aussi appelé Grammaire de Landi] que a étè écris récemment, voyons)...enfin, le future. En échange on a, comme des vampires, sucé tout ce qu'on bien voulait.
    Pourtant, qu'est-ce que les Africains ont fait depuis que les Európeans ont partis? La guérre, la corruption, la honteuse governance, la manque de respect pour son peuple...et ne oublions pas, l'aide international (que ne fait que faire preuve que les "pauvres" Africains ne savent pas se débrouiller sans les ex-colonisateurs - c'est honteux et une grande mensonge).
    Les Africains devraient savoir qu'ils pose une grande menace au Occident (après qu'ils commence a travailler; une fois que les governements fassent preuve de qu'ils veulent vraiement developer ses pays [attravers du l'investissement en la education et la santé, pour que le peuple puisse être doté de le pouvoir de choix]; une fois qu'ils fassent la gestion correcte de les ressources naturels et redistribuent les recettes; une fois qu'ils décident accompagner les temps).

    Il faut prendre plus attention au présent et pas au passé.

    Sérènity...phew...tu m'as fait parler et parler là lol... :)
    Merci bein pour ton commentaire :D!

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hey Bob :D!

    "Excellent again Max!! love learning about different cultures."

    Thanks, Bob :D!

    "The Music is sweet and thanks for the synopsis."

    The music is sweet indeed; I just love it. You are welcome :D!

    "Just so you know the special effect the guitar is using is called a chorus effect, gives the guitar a fat and sweet sound, I use it a lot on my guitar, excellent for acoustical work such as this song."

    I didn't know that: thanks :D! So, you play the guitar...you are a man full of surprises, Bob!

    Thanks for your comment, Bob, I loved it (as always) :D!

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  23. God, I'd love to travel with you!

    Thanks to you, I learned a lot about the lusosphere. I can't believe I skipped this part of history... Portugal was an empire!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hey Zhu,

    Girl, you know I'd love to travel with you too: imagine the amount of fun we would have :D!

    Indeed...Portugal was an empire :)!

    Darling, thank you so much for your comment :D!

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
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