Culture

The culture of Mozambique is an amalgam, mainly deriving from its history of Bantu, Swahili, and Portuguese rule, and has expanded since independence on June, 1975. The large range of cultural, linguistic and religious diversity makes Mozambique an impressive ang culturally rich place. There is variety of cultures clustered together like Swahili language speaking group, Islamic culture and Bantu-speaking groups living in northern and central regions. Zambezi valley has an outstanding culture, as well. Swahili is spoken in a small area of the coast next to the Tanzanian border and Kimwani, regarded as a dialect of Swahili, is used in the south of Tanzanian border, towards Mozambique Island.

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The official and most widely spoken language of the nation is Portuguese, spoken by 50.3% of the population. It is impressive that there always alive a common theme of dynamic and creative cultural expression in song, oral poetry, dance, and performance despite the big range and the mixture of languages, social relationships, artistic traditions, clothing, and ornamentation patterns. Concerning the religion, in Mozambique Roman Catholicism, Islam, non-Catholic Christian faiths and a few other indigenous religions are present. Among the religions earnestly practiced in Mozambique, 30% are Christians found mainly in the south. In the north, 27% of Mozambicans are Muslims. The rest of the population is prejudiced with a mixed religious belief. Arab traders were those to bring Islam and the Portuguese carried Christianity.  Traditional notions are based on the idea that every living thing has a spiritual life that dominates. The indigenous religion is animism. There are some sacred sites and symbols such as mountains, forests, rivers and lakes that play important religious roles and predictions.

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The traditions of Mozambique include music and dance. Performance arts are deeply in relation with daily religious and social practices. The music of Mozambique can serve many purposes, ranging from religious expression to traditional ceremonies. Musical instruments are usually handmade. Some of the instruments used in Mozambican musical expression include drums made of wood and animal skin; the lupembe, a woodwind instrument made from animal horns or wood; and the marimba, which is a kind of xylophone native to Mozambique. Dances are usually complicated, highly developed traditions throughout Mozambique. There are many different kinds of dances from tribe to tribe which usually have a ritualistic character. The Chopi, for instance, act out battles dressed in animal skins. The men of Makua dress in colorful outfits and masks while dancing on stilts around the village for hours. Groups of women in the northern part of the country perform a traditional dance called tufo, to celebrate Islamic holidays. Some regional traditions are well accepted throughout the nation and even across countries. Carved wooden sculpture and masks resembling the Makonde people of northern Mozambique and Tanzania are used in traditional dances as famous traditional materials of Mozambique. These wooden carvings are usually referred to as “family trees” because they tell stories of many generations. During the last years of the colonial period, Mozambican art reflected the oppression by the colonial power, and became symbol of the resistance. After independence in 1975, the modern art came into a new phase. Mozambique’s tradition of visual art has generated several modern artists. The two best known and most influential contemporary Mozambican artists are the painter Malangatana Ngwenya, whose paintings have captured the international audience and the sculptor Alberto Chissano. Also a lot of the post-independence art during the 1980s and 1990s reflect the political struggle, civil war, suffering, starvation, and struggle.

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The People of Mozambique mostly live in the cities and the rural areas of the country of Mozambique. The rich people who are involved in various jobs and businesses mainly reside in the cities of Mozambique. The rest of the population live in the interiors of the country and make a living by agricultural activities. The rural areas of the country of Mozambique have kept alive the tradition and culture. The Mozambique children involve themselves into the cultural activities besides education. Islands of Mozambique There are few places in Mozambique that capture the history of the country as well as the Ilha de Mozambique (Mozambique Island), from which the country gets its name. Ilha de Mozambique is an island in the Nampula Province in Northern Mozambique with a historical heritage that’s unmatched in the rest of Mozambique, and indeed the rest of Africa. It was the capital of Mozambique for nearly four centuries under Portuguese colonization before the move to Lourenco Marques (now Maputo). The Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gamma went for the first time in Mozambique in 1498 and the Portuguese realized the value of the island as a stopover for their merchant ships and a secure refuge. But before the Portuguese, Arabs had settled on the island. These masters of the Indian Ocean traded with the Red Sea, Arabia, Persia, India, and the islands of the Indian Ocean for the export of ivory, slaves and timber, and the import of colored cloth and strings of beads from India.  It had been a major crossroads of historic pathways and even if that era has long passed, there is still the essence of these times. The natural beauty makes Ilha itself is truly a unique place to visit. Although Ilha is less than three kilometers long, it has a population of over 15,000 people. There are two towns: Stone Town occupies the northern half of the island and is much grander than Macuti town in the south, but both are UNESCO listed because of their significant architecture and cultural tradition.

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The whole island an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991. Ilha’s remarkable architectural unity is due to the consistent use, since the 16th century, of the same building techniques, building materials (stone or macuti) and decorative principles. The custom of musiro Musiro is a beauty treatment product that is made of an island’s tree root. It is completely natural, containing no artificial additives. The root is ground into powder and then mixed with water to form a cream that soothes and softens the skin. The treatment is usually applied to the face, but it can be used all over the body. Whole-body treatments used to (and sometimes still do) form part of the traditional wedding preparations of a girl in the coastal zone, in Ilha and or the surrounds. The mask of musiro has become characteristic of the north in Mozambique.

1. Monumento as almas

2. Fortaleza de Sao Sebastiao

3. Capela de Nossa Senhora do Baluarte