of Endless Coastline and Rich Multi-Ethnic Culture
is an exotic name for fascinating and diverse country. Located
in southeast Africa, it contains a 2500km long coastline of
sandy beaches, facing the Mozambique Channel and the Indian
Ocean. As a Portuguese colony from 1752 until 1975, the country’s
culture is a blend of indigenous and Portuguese traditions,
specifically in its unique architecture, literature, poetry,
and music. The country’s artwork, considered among the
finest on the continent, includes wood sculptures and masks
of the Makonde people, as well as large, colorful murals.
The capital city of Maputo, formerly Lourenço
Marques, is in the far southern end of Mozambique, on Delagoa
Bay (Baía do Espírito Santo). Maputo has many
beaches and several museums including the Museu de História
Natural. Wildlife reserves near the city are famous for their
elephants and flamingos.
Eduardo Mondlane University, also in Maputo,
is the major institution of higher education in the country.
Originally established as the University of Luanda in 1962
under the Portuguese colonial administration, the university
was renamed in 1975 in honor of the leader of the Mozambique
Liberation Front (FRELIMO).
Since 1970, more than 25 Fulbright grants
have been awarded to U.S. scholars to conduct research and/or
lecture in Mozambique. Fulbright grant packages include support
for tuition and fees for accompanying children.
is the official language of Mozambique, while several other
local languages are spoke there. The word for “peace”
in Portuguese is “paz.” In “Swahili,”
it is “Amani.”
of Mozambicans belong to ethnically diverse indigenous groups
such as the Makua, the Makonde, the Sena, the Chokwe, the
Manyika, and the Shanagaan. About half of the Mozambican population
practices traditional indigenous religions, while the remaining
half practice either Islam or Christianity. Portuguese, other
European, and Asian residents make up the small expatriate
Mozambique, with its large amounts of gold
and ivory, came under control of Portugal in the 16th century.
But settlement by the Portuguese was sparse until the late
1880’s, when a formal colony called Portuguese East
Africa was formed in the country.
In the 1890’s, Mozambican forces rebelled
against the Portuguese colonials, losing the final battle
against them in 1895 at an area called Gwaza Miuthine, according
to Kristin M Kane, Public Affairs Officers in Maputo. She
also facilitated the collection of soil for the Common Ground
191 art project in that area. She explained in an email, “From
that date (February 2, 1895) until the revolution for independence
started in the 1960’s, Mozambique was officially an
undisputed port of Portugal.”
The two countries were closely tied through
the mid 20th century. Then, in the 1950s, native Mozambicans
began to protest Portuguese rule. For more than a decade,
the Frelimo (Front for the Liberation of Mozambique) rebellion
fought a guerilla war.
1964, the northern part of the country was almost completely
in Frelimo hands. But as Portugal was undergoing its own revolution
in 1974, that country agreed to support independence for Mozambique.
With this new state of affairs, so many Portuguese left Mozambique
that much of the country's administrative infrastructure was
effectively wrecked. In June 1975, independence was granted,
and a Marxist Frelimo government was installed.
During the 1980s, a movement to overthrow
the Frelimo regime was organized and civil war erupted, supported
by South Africa. In response, the Frelimo government adopted
a new constitution that spelled out improvement in individual
rights, including freedom of the press and speech, while establishing
a multiparty democracy. In 1992, the civil war came to an
end. In 1994, the country's first-ever multiparty elections
Before the peace accord of October 1992, Mozambique's
economy was devastated by a protracted civil war and socialist
mismanagement. In 1994, it ranked as one of the poorest countries
in the world. Since then, Mozambique has undertaken a series
of economic reforms, and more than 900 state enterprises have
been privatized. Pending are tax and commercial code reform,
as well as greater private sector involvement in the transportation,
telecommunications, and energy sectors. Since 1996, inflation
has been low and foreign exchange rates stable. In fact, Mozambique
achieved one of the highest growth rates in the world in 1997-98.
Still, the country depends on foreign assistance to balance
the budget and pay for a trade imbalance in which imports
outnumber exports by three to one. The medium-term outlook
for the country looks bright, as trade and transportation
links to South Africa and the rest of the region are expected
to improve and sizable foreign investments materialize. Among
these investments are metal production (aluminum, steel),
natural gas, power generation, agriculture (cotton, sugar),
fishing, timber, and transportation services. Additional exports
in these areas should bring in needed foreign exchange.
Mozambique's distinct local style consists
of a vibrant blend of African, Arab and Portuguese influences.
The carved wooden sculpture and masks of the Makonde people
of northern Mozambique and the complex Chopi orchestral performances,
or midogo, are among the best-known artistic traditions. The
country has several modern artists who are known internationally.
The most famous artist in the country is Malangatana Valente
Ngwenya whose paintings portray the sufferings of the colonial
period and the civil war. Malangatana and the muralist Mankew
Valente Muhumana have inspired the formation of artist cooperatives,
particularly around Maputo.
music includes the work of Alexandre Langa, Xidimingwana,
and the Nampula group Eyuphuro. Soccer is the nation's favorite
sporting activity. Mozambique's soccer team competes with
other African nations and within the Portuguese-speaking Sporting
League, which also includes Angola, Portugal, and Brazil.
Cuisine is varied, but is often a blend of African and Portuguese.
with its tropical and subtropical climate, is located in Southern
Africa, bordering the Mozambique Channel, between South Africa
and Tanzania. The terrain is mostly coastal lowlands, with
uplands in the center, high plateaus in the northwest and
mountains in west. The country has many tropical beaches,
coral reefs and is known as a mecca for scuba divers, sun
worshippers and adventures explorers. The pristine coast is
an unexplored pleasure of the Indian Ocean, hosting a dazzling
display of marine life. The world renowned Bazaruto Archipelago
is part of that coastline. The Northern region includes the
majestic mountains of Namúli and Unango, historical
settlements of Angoche, Ile de Mozambique, and Ibo and the
magnificent harbor of Pemba. The country is also known for
its small desolated islands close to the coast.