Maputo • Matola • Beira • Nampula • Chimoio • Nacala • Quelimane • Tete • Xai-Xai • Maxixe • Ressano Garcia • Lichinga • Pemba • Dondo • Antonio Enes • Inhambane • Cuamba • Montepuez • Chokwe • Chibuto • Ilha de Mocambique • Mutuali • Mocimboa • Manjacaze • Macia •
|THE MOZAMBIQUE COAT OF ARMS|
Location of Mozambique within the continent of Africa
Map of Mozambique
Flag Description of Mozambique: three equal horizontal bands of green (top), black, and yellow with a red isosceles triangle based on the hoist side; the black band is edged in white; centered in the triangle is a yellow five-pointed star bearing a crossed rifle and hoe in black superimposed on an open white book; green represents the riches of the land, white peace, black the African continent, yellow the country's minerals, and red the struggle for independence; the rifle symbolizes defense and vigilance, the hoe refers to the country's agriculture, the open book stresses the importance of education, and the star represents Marxism and internationalism
Official name República de Moçambique (Republic of Mozambique)
Form of government multiparty republic with a single legislative house (Assembly of the Republic )
Head of state and government President: Filipe Nyusi
Official language Portuguese
Official religion none
Monetary unit (new) metical (MTn; plural meticais)1
Population (2013 est.) 24,097,000COLLAPSE
Total area (sq mi) 308,642
Total area (sq km) 799,380
- Urban: (2011) 37.6%
- Rural: (2011) 62.4%
Life expectancy at birth
- Male: (2012) 50.7 years
- Female: (2012) 54.9 years
Literacy: percentage of population age 15 and over literate
- Male: (2008) 69.5%
- Female: (2008) 40.1%
GNI per capita (U.S.$) 2013) 590
1The (new) metical (MTn) replaced the (old) metical (MT) on July 1, 2006, at a rate 1 MTn = MT 1,000.
Almost five centuries as a Portuguese colony came to a close with independence in 1975. Large-scale emigration, economic dependence on South Africa, a severe drought, and a prolonged civil war hindered the country's development until the mid 1990s. The ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo) party formally abandoned Marxism in 1989, and a new constitution the following year provided for multiparty elections and a free market economy. A UN-negotiated peace agreement between Frelimo and rebel Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo) forces ended the fighting in 1992. In December 2004, Mozambique underwent a delicate transition as Joaquim CHISSANO stepped down after 18 years in office. His elected successor, Armando Emilio GUEBUZA, promised to continue the sound economic policies that have encouraged foreign investment. President GUEBUZA was reelected to a second term in October 2009. However, the elections were flawed by voter fraud, questionable disqualification of candidates, and Frelimo use of government resources during the campaign. As a result, Freedom House removed Mozambique from its list of electoral democracies.
Mozambique, a scenic country in southeastern Africa. Mozambique is rich in natural resources, is biologically and culturally diverse, and has a tropical climate. Its extensive coastline, fronting the Mozambique Channel, which separates mainland Africa from the island of Madagascar, offers some of Africa’s best natural harbours. These have allowed Mozambique an important role in the maritime economy of the Indian Ocean, while the country’s white sand beaches are an important attraction for the growing tourism industry. Fertile soils in the northern and central areas of Mozambique have yielded a varied and abundant agriculture, and the great Zambezi River has provided ample water for irrigation and the basis for a regionally important hydroelectric power industry.
Yet Mozambique’s turbulent recent history has kept its people from fully enjoying these natural advantages and from developing a stable, diversified economy. A former colony of Portugal, Mozambique provided mineral and agricultural products to its distant ruler while receiving few services in return. Following independence in 1975, Mozambique was torn by internal conflict as the Marxist government, supported in part by the Soviet Union and Cuba, battled anticommunist forces funded by South Africa and the former Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) for control of the country. Marked by countless acts of terror, the ensuing warfare displaced at least four million people and resulted in the death of perhaps a million more as a result of the violence, famine, and disease it engendered. Violence and disunity hindered economic development, especially the broadening of tourism, and discouraged foreign investment. The conflict formally ended in 1992, but its lingering effects are many: in the early 21st century, as many as one million unexploded land mines still remained along the country’s trails and roads, and much political strife continued between the major opposition forces and the central government.
In 2005, as part of a torch relay program to mark 30 years of independence, President Armando Guebuza noted that the torch’s flame was a symbol of Mozambique’s history and would light the people’s path “to the consolidation of independence and construction of their well-being.” As the torch was passed to a Mozambican born in the year that the country gained its independence, Guebuza remarked
- Handing this torch over to a youth symbolizes our certainty that the combat we wage against poverty will be continued by our young people, guardians of our glorious political, historical and cultural heritage.
The capital is Maputo. Known until independence as Lourenço Marques, the city boasts fine colonial-era architecture and an attractive natural setting alongside the deepwater harbour of Maputo Bay. Maputo is the commercial and cultural centre of the country, and its sidewalk cafés, bars, and discotheques offer some of the liveliest nightlife in southern Africa. Other major cities and towns, most of which lie on or near the Indian Ocean coast, include Beira, Quelimane, Chimoio, Tete, Nampula, and Nacala..
Geography of Mozambique
Mozambique is about the size of the combined areas of the U.S. states of Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah; most of its territory stretches along the Indian Ocean coast from Cape (Cabo) Delgado in the north past the capital city of Maputo in the south. It is bordered to the north by Tanzania, to the east by the Mozambique Channel, which separates it from the island of Madagascar, to the south and southwest by South Africa and Swaziland, to the west by Zimbabwe, and to the northwest by Zambia, Malawi, and Lake Nyasa.
Lowlands dominate the southern provinces, narrowing to a mere coastal plain north of the cleft where the Zambezi River cuts through the country’s midsection. The Zambezi valley, the lower section of which is a part of the Eastern (Great) Rift Valley, is Mozambique’s most dramatic geographic feature. Throughout the country the land rises gently from east to west. In the centre and north it slopes steadily into the high plains and ultimately to the mountainous regions on the northwest border with Malawi and Zambia. Four of Mozambique’s five highland regions straddle the west and northwest border areas: the Chimoio Plateau on the border with Zimbabwe, the Marávia highlands bordering Zambia, and the Angónia highlands and Lichinga Plateau, which lie, respectively, west and east of Malawi’s protrusion into Mozambique. Mount Binga, the country’s highest elevation at 7,992 feet (2,436 metres), is part of the Chimoio highlands. The 7,936-foot (2,419-metre) peak at Mount Namúli dominates the Mozambican highland, which constitutes much of the northern interior.
Mozambique’s ample water resources have the potential to compensate for the mixed quality of its soils. Major river systems provide alluvial deposits and offer both hydroelectric and irrigation potential. The Rovuma (Ruvuma) River defines most of Mozambique’s northern border with Tanzania. The Zambezi River and its tributaries dominate the central region, and the Maputo River forms part of the southernmost boundary with Swaziland and South Africa. Rivers—including the Lúrio, Ligonha, Save (Sabi), Changane, and Incomáti (Komati)—also define many of the country’s local political boundaries. Other important drainage systems include the Messalo River in the north, the Púngoè (Púnguè), Revuè, and Búzi rivers, which enter the Mozambique Channel together just south of the port of Beira, and the Limpopo River in the south.
The massive Zambezi flows 509 miles (819 km) through the country and drains more than 87,000 square miles (225,000 square km) of the central region. The Rovuma, Lúrio, Save, and Messalo systems follow in size, respectively. Mozambique shares the borders of Lakes Nyasa, Chiuta, and Chilwa with Malawi, but aside from these and the lakes created by the country’s hydroelectric dam network—particularly the extensive system created by the Cahora Bassa Dam at Songo on the Zambezi—the country has no important lakes.
Africa’s ancient basement complex of granite rock underlies most of northern and west-central Mozambique, whereas the soils of the southern and east-central regions are sedimentary. Mozambique’s soils are diverse in quality and type, but the northern and central provinces have generally more fertile, water-retentive soils than does the south, where sandy, infertile soils prevail. The northern soils, whose qualities allow agricultural potential to extend beyond the river valleys, have a higher content of red clay, with a varying range of fertility. In contrast, the central region has a broad expanse of rich alluvial soils along the Zambezi delta. South of Beira, fertility is largely limited to alluvial soils in the valleys of the Save, Limpopo, Incomáti, Umbelúzi, and Maputo rivers, although several pockets of fertile but heavy soil occur southwest of Inhambane.
Mozambique lies largely within the tropics, and much of the coastline is subject to the regular seasonal influence of the Indian Ocean monsoon rains. The monsoon influence is strongest in the northeast but is modified somewhat in the south by the island barriers of Madagascar, the Comoros, and the Seychelles. With the exception of highland areas on the northern and western borders and around Gurue (east of the Malawi protrusion into Mozambique), where elevation modifies both temperature and humidity, the climate is seasonal and tropical. Daily temperatures throughout the country average in the mid- to upper 70s °F (lower to mid-20s °C), with the highest temperatures occurring between October and February and the lowest in June and July. Uncomfortably warm average daily temperatures in the upper 80s °F (low 30s °C) are normal only in the upper Zambezi valley and along the northeastern coast, while cool temperatures in the 60s °F (10s °C) occur year-round only in the mountainous areas on the western borders.
Humidity and precipitation vary widely throughout the country. Again, the sharpest contrast is between north and south. The entire region north of the Zambezi and east of the Shire River valley is humid and warm, as is the coastal plain in the south, while the southern interior and most of the Zambezi valley west of the Shire are quite dry; the south-central area is even considered semiarid. Precipitation is greatest throughout the north and in the central region east of the Shire River, where it ranges between 40 and 70 inches (1,010 and 1,780 mm); the highest precipitation, averaging more than 70 inches, is in the highlands and in coastal pockets around Beira and Quelimane. In the Zambezi valley west of the Shire, however, average precipitation declines to between 24 and 32 inches (610 and 810 mm), whereas in the south, to the west of the coastal plain, average annual precipitation is only about 24 inches. The semiarid southern regions receive only about 3 inches (75 mm) of precipitation per month in the wet season from November to February and almost none in the dry season between April and October. As the annual precipitation figures suggest, west-central and southern Mozambique are subject to periodic drought.
- Plant and animal life
Although Mozambique retains some dense forests in the north-central interior and on the Chimoio Plateau, most of the northern and east-central areas are open forest. In the south the open forest of the east becomes brush and, to the west, savanna grassland. The largest forest reserves are on the Chimoio Plateau west and southwest of Beira and in the northern interior south of the Lúrio River. Mozambique maintains four national parks in the central and southern areas—Gorongosa, Zinave, Bazaruto, and Banhine. A transnational park combines Kruger National Park in South Africa, Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and Limpopo National Park in Mozambique to form the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
The country’s diverse wildlife populations include water buffalo, elephants, warthogs, leopards, baboons, giraffes, zebras, antelopes, lions, and numerous other species of ungulates and cats. Crocodiles and hippopotamuses are found in slow-moving waterways. Snakes—including pythons and venomous puff adders, cobras, and vipers—live throughout the country. Flamingos, cranes, storks, herons, pelicans, ibis, and other tropical waterbirds exist throughout Mozambique but are more numerous in the moister areas of the northeast. Scavengers include crows, vultures, and buzzards, and game birds include guinea fowl, partridge, quail, and a range of geese and ducks. Game reservations and national hunting areas are located largely in the central and southern areas, with the exception of the important Niassa reserve on the Tanzanian border and the Gilé reserve southwest of Nampula. The largest game areas are just south of the Zambezi bordering the Chimoio highlands. The country’s other game reservations are the Marromeu, Pomene, and Maputo reserves.
Demography of Mozambique
- Ethnic groups
The people of Mozambique are ethnically diverse, but ethnic categories are fluid and reflect the country’s colonial history. All inhabitants of the country were designated Portuguese in 1961, and some ethnic classifications such as Makua-Lomwe were created by colonial Portuguese officials themselves. Within the country, in addition to the Makua-Lomwe, live the Tsonga, Sena, Ndau (see Shona), Chopi, Chewa, Yao, Makonde, and Ngoni.
In terms of cultural organization, the Zambezi valley again provides Mozambique’s key marker, roughly dividing groups that trace their heritage according to principles of matrilineality to the north and groups that order themselves along patrilineal lines to the south. In matrilineal groups, authority rests in the senior male of the extended family traced through the female line, whereas in patrilineal groups the senior male is identified through the male line. Throughout the 20th century, however, many matrilineal groups adopted patrilineality and virilocal settlement, with new families settling in a household of the husband’s lineage rather than the wife’s.
Although Portuguese, the official language, is the main language of only a tiny fraction of the population, it is spoken as a lingua franca by some two-fifths of the country’s inhabitants. Portuguese speakers are strongly concentrated in the capital of Maputo and other urban areas.
The vast majority of Mozambicans speak languages from the Bantu branch of the Niger-Congo language group. Within the Bantu group, Makua, Lomwe, Tsonga, Sena, Shona, and Chuabo are the most widespread languages, but the country has great linguistic and cultural variety because it shares languages with surrounding countries: Swahili with many East African countries, Yao with Malawi and Tanzania, Makonde with Tanzania, the Ngoni and Chewa dialects of Nyanja with Malawi and Tanzania, Shona with Zimbabwe, and Shangaan (a dialect of Tsonga) with South Africa and Swaziland. Similarly, small groups in the far south and throughout the country share Nguni languages (Zulu and Swati) with South African and Zimbabwean peoples as a result of major population movements of the early 19th century. Groups speaking European and Asian languages are largely limited to the port cities of Maputo, Beira, Quelimane, Nacala, and Pemba.
Makua and Lomwe are spoken by almost half of the population and dominate northeastern Mozambique except in two areas: the coastal strip north of the Lúrio River, where Swahili is typically spoken, and a large pocket on the Tanzanian border that is inhabited predominantly by Makonde speakers. Most of the population speaks Yao in the region that extends westward from the confluence of the Rovuma and Lugenda rivers to the border with Malawi, while Nyanja is commonly spoken in the rough triangle from the juncture of the Shire and Zambezi rivers northwest to the border with Zambia. Shona speakers, more than one-tenth of the population, dominate the region between the Save River and the Zambezi valley. South of the Save, Tsonga is spoken by almost one-seventh of the population.
Prior to independence in 1975, almost one-third of the population was nominally Christian, and a small number were Muslim. Christian missionaries were active throughout the country during the colonial era, and after 1926 the Roman Catholic Church was given government subsidies and a privileged position with respect to its educational and evangelical activities among the African population. Although the Portuguese were generally suspicious of Protestants, Protestant missionaries—Presbyterian, Free Methodist, African Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal, Anglican, and Congregationalist—remained active, particularly in the northern interior and in the hinterlands of Inhambane and Maputo, providing Africans with alternative medical facilities and boarding schools. A variety of African Independent Churches developed, but, because of official disdain for their activities, they were unlikely to register publicly.
After independence the government, led by the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frente de Libertação de Moçambique; Frelimo), presented conflicting messages regarding religion. Although it confirmed a policy of open and free religious affiliation, Frelimo actively persecuted the country’s more than 20,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses, and its overall political and ideological emphasis discouraged religious expression and organization. By the end of the 1980s, however, Frelimo had changed its approach, and religious organizations began to reemerge as an important popular force.
Almost half of the people now practice traditional religions, while about two-fifths adhere to some form of Christianity, and fewer than one-fifth are Muslims. Although Islamic communities are found in most of Mozambique’s cities, Muslims constitute the majority in only the northern coastal region between the Lúrio and Rovuma rivers.
- Settlement patterns
Mozambique is an overwhelmingly agricultural country, with more than four-fifths of the labour force engaged in farming, and settlement patterns reflect the agrarian focus. The most densely populated areas are those with the best soils and climate, including the Lúrio and Ligonha river valleys in the northeast, the coastal plain between them, and the lower reaches of the Limpopo valley. In most rural areas settlements reflect family residence patterns and are dispersed. In drier areas settlement patterns are shaped by efforts to combine agriculture with pastoralism. Settlements are separated by expanses of grazing area. People in small settlements typically plant several crops in diverse and specific environments to minimize the danger of famine in case of flood, drought, pests, or other natural stressors.
The Portuguese colonial state developed rural settlement schemes during the late colonial era, and shortly after independence the national government strongly promoted communal village and state farm projects, all of which fostered denser rural settlement, particularly in the south. In most cases, however, such schemes proved largely unsatisfactory, and more-dispersed settlement patterns tended to reemerge when government policy and military security permitted. Although dispersed settlement makes it more difficult for the state to provide security and community services, it is preferred by farmers.
After independence a great number of people, including many without job skills, moved to the urban areas. In 1983 the government implemented Operation Production in order to reduce the urban population by 100,000. At first it sought volunteers, but by September an estimated 50,000 people had been forcibly removed to rural areas, largely without support or jobs. The program—generally a failure, as many people simply moved back to the urban areas from which they were removed—was discontinued.
Maputo is the country’s principal urban settlement, followed by Matola, Beira, Nampula, Quelimane, Nacala, Tete, and Chimoio. Most of these are port, transportation, and communications centres, which grew in order to service the needs of Mozambique’s western neighbours. The development of Nampula, Nacala, and Chimoio, however, dates from the Portuguese colonial state’s efforts to decentralize economic and administrative infrastructure as part of a counterinsurgency strategy in the late 1960s and ’70s. Prior to that period, investment in Mozambique focused largely on Maputo. Only Maputo and Beira have substantial foreign communities.
- Demographic trends
Mozambique’s rate of population growth, though high by world standards, is lower than that of most other African countries. The country’s infant mortality rate is among the highest in the world. Moreover, average life expectancy is among the lowest in the world, but comparable to that of other southern African countries. As in most African countries, Mozambique’s population is young—more than two-fifths of Mozambicans are under age 15 and almost three-fourths under 30.
Population movement across Mozambique’s borders has been facilitated in many instances by shared language and culture. During the colonial era Mozambicans worked in neighbouring countries as contract labourers and independent migrant workers, particularly in the mining areas of South Africa and in the farms and cities of southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). After the coup in Portugal in 1974 that signaled the end of Portuguese colonial rule in Africa, the Portuguese population in Mozambique plummeted from a high of about 250,000 to fewer than 10,000. Between 1977 and 1992 the antigovernment forces of the Mozambique National Resistance (Resistência Nacional Moçambicana; Renamo) caused great social and economic upheaval, dislocating large rural populations and disrupting rural production and distribution. The situation was aggravated by natural disasters and the government’s counterproductive agricultural and commercial policies, which ultimately fueled a general economic collapse. By the end of the 1980s, almost one-third of the country’s population had left their fields and herds to flee to refugee settlements in the major cities and in neighbouring countries. Following the peace accord of 1992, nearly all of these people returned to agricultural labour in the rural areas, often to their previous homes; however, land disputes then arose between returning farmers and new settlers.
The colonial economy was characterized by private monopolies, central planning, and state marketing of key products—all designed to promote capital accumulation by the state, Portuguese settlers, and Portuguese-based commerce and industry. Colonial policy excluded most Africans from highly skilled and managerial positions until the years immediately preceding independence. After independence the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frente de Libertação de Moçambique; Frelimo) government tried to change the colonial economic patterns by nationalizing key properties, promoting African education and training, and breaking up the Portuguese and South Asian hold on commercial distribution. Despite Frelimo’s public stand against ethnic discrimination, Portuguese settlers and South Asian traders—threatened by the government’s economic policies—left by the thousands. Settlers anticipating nationalization abandoned their properties, adding by default to the proportion of the national economy that the state controlled, and large-scale state-run farms and communal and cooperative farming replaced the settler and company plantations. Frelimo’s agricultural undertakings proved unproductive and unmanageable, however, and, in combination with the flight of South Asian merchants and the instability caused by guerrilla warfare, much of the country’s agricultural production, commerce, and distribution system collapsed. In an effort to rebuild the economy, the state ultimately reoriented economic policy in accordance with plans imposed by the International Monetary Fund, which emphasized decentralization and privatization and provided assistance to family farmers.
Although agriculture has been the most widespread economic activity, remittances from migrant labourers in South Africa and revenues from tourism and the country’s port and railway sector have been equally important historically as sources of foreign exchange. While all these sectors declined severely during the 1980s and early ’90s because of civil unrest, they rebounded after the 1992 peace accord, and the industry sector —specifically, resource exploitation, aluminum smelting, and electricity production—also expanded. By the early 21st century, Mozambique had attained a significant amount of economic growth.--->>>>Read More.<<<
Government and Society of Mozambique
Mozambique has been a multiparty democracy since adoption of the 1990 constitution. The executive branch comprises a president, prime minister, and Council of Ministers. There is a National Assembly and municipal assemblies. The judiciary comprises a Supreme Court and provincial, district, and municipal courts. Suffrage is universal at eighteen.
In 1994, the country held its first democratic elections. Joaquim Chissano was elected president with 53 percent of the vote, and a 250-member National Assembly was voted in with 129 FRELIMO deputies, 112 RENAMO deputies, and nine representatives of three smaller parties that formed the Democratic Union (UD). Since its formation in 1994, the National Assembly has made progress in becoming a body increasingly more independent of the executive. By 1999, more than one-half (53 percent) of the legislation passed had originated in the Assembly.
In 1998, after some delays, the country held its first local elections to provide for local representation and some budgetary authority at the municipal level. The principal opposition party, RENAMO, boycotted the local elections, citing flaws in the registration process. Independent slates contested the elections and won seats in municipal assemblies. Turnout was very low.
In the aftermath of the 1998 local elections, the government resolved to make more accommodations to the opposition's procedural concerns for the second round of multiparty national elections in 1999. Working through the National Assembly, the electoral law was rewritten and passed by consensus in December 1998. Financed largely by international donors, a very successful voter registration was conducted from July to September 1999, providing voter registration cards to 85 percent of the potential electorate, more than seven million voters.
The second general elections were held December 3-5, 1999, with high voter turnout. International and domestic observers agreed that the voting process was well organized and went smoothly. Both the opposition and observers subsequently cited flaws in the tabulation process that, had they not occurred, might have changed the outcome. In the end, however, international and domestic observers concluded that the close result of the vote reflected the will of the people.
Chissano won the presidency with a margin of 4 percentage points over the RENAMO-Electoral Union coalition candidate, Afonso Dhlakama, and began his five-year term in January 2000. FRELIMO increased its majority in the National Assembly with 133 out of 250 seats. The RENAMO-UE coalition won 116 seats; 1 went independent.
The opposition coalition did not accept the National Election Commission's results of the presidential vote and filed a formal complaint to the Supreme Court. One month after the voting, the court dismissed the opposition's challenge and validated the election results. The opposition did not file a complaint about the results of the legislative vote.
The second local elections, involving 33 municipalities with some 2.4 million registered voters, took place in November 2003. This was the first time that FRELIMO, RENAMO-UE, and independent parties competed without significant boycotts. The 24 percent turnout was well above the 15 percent turnout in the first municipal elections. FRELIMO won 28 mayoral positions and the majority in 29 municipal assemblies, while RENAMO won five mayoral positions and the majority in four municipal assemblies. The voting was conducted in an orderly fashion without violent incidents. However, the period immediately after the elections was marked by objections about voter and candidate registration and vote tabulation, as well as calls for greater transparency.
In May 2004, the government approved a new general elections law that contained innovations based on the experience of the 2003 municipal elections.
Presidential and National Assembly elections took place on December 1-2, 2004. FRELIMO candidate Armando Guebuza, a wealthy businessman, won with 64 percent of the popular vote. His opponent, Afonso Dhlakama of RENAMO, received 32 percent of the popular vote. FRELIMO won 160 seats in Parliament. A coalition of RENAMO and several small parties won the 90 remaining seats. Armando Guebuza was inaugurated on February 2, 2005. The state-run Radio Mozambique is the country's main source of news and information, and RENAMO claims that its candidates receive inadequate coverage.
While allegiances dating back to the liberation struggle remain important, Mozambique's foreign policy has become increasingly pragmatic. The twin pillars of Mozambique's foreign policy are maintenance of good relations with its neighbors, and maintenance and expansion of ties to development partners.
During the 1970s and early 1980s, Mozambique's foreign policy was inextricably linked to the struggles for majority rule in Rhodesia and South Africa as well as superpower competition and the Cold War. Mozambique's decision to enforce UN sanctions against Rhodesia and deny that country access to the sea led Ian Smith's regime to undertake overt and covert actions to destabilize the country. Although the change of government in Zimbabwe in 1980 removed this threat, the apartheid regime in South Africa continued to finance the destabilization of Mozambique.
The 1984 Nkomati Accord, while failing in its goal of ending South African support for RENAMO, opened initial diplomatic contacts between the Mozambican and South African governments. This process gained momentum with South Africa's elimination of apartheid, which culminated in the establishment of full diplomatic relations in 1993. While relations with neighboring Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania show occasional strains, Mozambique's ties to these countries remain strong.
In the years immediately following independence, the Soviet Union and its allies became Mozambique's primary economic, military, and political supporters, and its foreign policy reflected this. Things began to change in 1983; in 1984 Mozambique joined the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Western aid quickly replaced Soviet support, with the Scandinavians, Finland, the United States, the Netherlands, and the European Union becoming increasingly important sources of development assistance. Italy also maintains a profile in Mozambique as a result of its key role during the peace process. Relations with Portugal, the former colonial power, are complex and of some importance, as Portuguese investors play a visible role in Mozambique's economy.
Mozambique is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement and ranks among the moderate members of the African Bloc in the United Nations and other international organizations. Mozambique also belongs to the African Union (formerly the Organization of African Unity) and the Southern African Development Community. In 1994, the government became a full member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, in part to broaden its base of international support but also to please the country's sizable Muslim population. Similarly, in early 1996, Mozambique joined its Anglophone neighbors in the Commonwealth. In the same year, Mozambique became a founding member and the first president of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), and it maintains close ties with other Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) states.
Culture Life of Mozambique
Mozambique exhibits a great range of cultural and linguistic diversity, sharing cultural traditions with its neighbours in Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Amid the variety of languages, social relationships, artistic traditions, clothing, and ornamentation patterns is a common theme of dynamic and creative cultural expression in song, oral poetry, dance, and performance. The carved wooden sculpture and mapiko initiation masks of the Makonde people of northern Mozambique and Tanzania are among the best-known artistic traditions.
Daily life and social customs Mozambican society has traditionally revolved around the family and the village, with customs and observances that grow from local rather than national influences. Many of its traditional values came under attack during the years of civil strife, for, despite Frelimo’s emphasis on pride in African cultural heritage, its ideology of scientific materialism clashed sharply with important components of traditional Mozambican culture. Aspects of that culture, including spirituality, herbal healing, rites of passage, direct criticism of leadership through poetic performance, and lineage authority, conflicted with government efforts to reorder society along socialist lines and to define national culture through government control of the media. Frelimo opposed such traditional practices as polygamy and various initiation rites as well as regulos, chiefs who were put into positions of power by the colonial government. By the end of the 1990s the government had stopped its campaigns against polygamy and initiation rites, implicitly recognizing that such social customs were difficult, if not impossible, to legislate. Regulos and other local authorities came to have a larger role in governance.
The daily food staple of most Mozambicans is either cassava (manioc), which is cooked and pounded into a soft mound and served with a sauce, or massa, a cornmeal porridge that is similarly served with a sauce. A common sauce called matapa is made from cooking cassava leaves or other greens with ground peanuts or shredded coconut, usually in coconut milk; sometimes shrimp or meat may be added, and there are many local variations. Rice is also the basis of many meals and is often served with beans. Indian influence is seen in the wide varieties of rice pilaf (pilau), where rice is cooked with chopped vegetables or meat, and in the use of curry (caril) as both a flavouring and as a style of cooking. A chili pepper sauce or marinade called piri-piri is a key ingredient in one of the country’s best-known dishes, chicken piri-piri, also called frango á zambeziana. Prawns are found in the Mozambique Channel and are a well-known feature of Mozambican cuisine, usually served grilled and often with piri-piri. Portuguese taste has also had an impact, evident in the presence of coffee shops in the urban areas. Local fruit such as mango, papaya, and citruses are widely available.
The arts Mozambique has produced some of Africa’s most important writers and artists. From the early 20th century, African writers and journalists published their own newspaper in Maputo—O Africano, later O Brado Africano—which, despite colonial censorship, provided a forum for African intellectuals and writers for many decades. Writers used Portuguese to convey the experience of the colonized and to confirm the validity of African cultural expression. Some of Frelimo’s leading figures, including Marcelino dos Santos and Sérgio Vieira, wrote poetry and encouraged poetic expression as a form of resistance. One of Africa’s best-known poets is José Craveirinha, whose collections of poetry include Chigubo (1964) and Karingana ua karingana (1974; “Once upon a Time”). Other writers in Portuguese include Luís Bernardo Honwana, Mia Couto, Lina Magaia, and Orlando Mendes. Bento Sitoe, the author of Zabela (1983), among other works, used Tsonga as the language of his writings. Since the 1990s new authors have emerged who address women’s experiences in Mozambican society, including Paulina Chiziane and Lília Momplé, whose novel Neighbours (1995) was later published in English as Neighbours: The Story of a Murder (2001).
Mozambique’s small film industry is represented by directors such as Jose Cardoso (Vento sopra do norte [1987; “The Wind Blows from the North”]) and Licino Azevedo (A arvore dos antepassados [1995; “Tree of the Ancestors”]). The country’s best-known film export is Solveig Nordlund’s Comédia infantil (1998; “Nelio’s Story”), a Portuguese, Swedish, and Mozambican coproduction.
The painter Malangatana Valente Ngwenya, commonly known as Malangatana, has gained an international following, as has the sculptor Alberto Chissano. Malangatana and the muralist Mankew Valente Muhumana have inspired the formation of artist cooperatives, particularly around Maputo; among the most prominent of these is the Nucleo de Arte, which operates a gallery and offers workshops throughout the year.
Mozambican popular music combines Western and African influences and includes the work of Alexandre Langa, Xidimingwana, and the Nampula group Eyuphuro. A popular style of music in Mozambique is marrabenta, which originated in the 1950s and was first performed on homemade guitars constructed from oil or gasoline cans and fishing line. The style’s lyrics are often political, though subtly so, and the associated dance is widely performed throughout the country. It developed during the colonial period as a way to criticize the government in a manner that would be nonthreatening and is a common musical form in other African societies. The Portuguese fado style, featuring mournful ballads usually sung by women, is also popular. The xylophone orchestral ensemble, common among the Chopi people, is one of the country’s best-known musical traditions. The National Song and Dance Company, headquartered in Maputo, offers programs drawing from the country’s many musical traditions.
Cultural institutions The Association of Mozambican Writers sponsors seminars and public readings and publishes for the national market. Eduardo Mondlane University and the Historical Archive publish scholarly journals, monographs, edited collections, archival guides, and collections of documents.
Mozambican cultural institutions underwent a fundamental transformation after independence, as the new government sought to eliminate colonial-era influences. Some of these institutions have remained closed, but most eventually reopened in a different form. Gustave Eiffel’s famed Iron House serves as the administrative centre for some of the country’s cultural departments. The Historical Archive of Mozambique, the Museum of the Revolution, the National Money Museum, the Museum of Geology, the National Museum of Art, and the Museum of Natural History—all located in Maputo—contain the principal collections, archives, and libraries. The National Museum of Ethnology, located in the northern city of Nampula, also has a large collection of Mozambican artifacts. The Island of Mozambique (designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991), at the mouth of Mossuril Bay in the Indian Ocean, contains a fort built in the early 1500s from stones imported from Portugal. Mosques, palaces, and the Nossa Senhora do Baluarte chapel can also be found there. The town of Manica, located in the mineral-rich province of the same name, has a fine geology museum, and similar collections are being developed elsewhere.
Sports and recreation
Football (soccer) is Mozambique’s favourite sport; however, the country’s most renowned player, Eusebio, made his name playing in Portugal (1961–75). Known as the “Black Panther,” he led the Portuguese national team to a third-place finish at the 1966 World Cup football championship. Track and field and basketball are also popular and avidly followed in the country. Maria Mutola won Mozambique’s first Olympic gold medal, in the 800-metre run at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney.
Media and publishing The government owns and controls most of the printed media, including Notícias, the daily national paper; Tempo, a weekly magazine; and Domingo, the Sunday paper. During the 1990s many smaller independent publications emerged, including Metical and Mediafax, which were noted for their critical assessment of current events. Other independent publications include the daily newspaper O Popular and the weekly newsmagazines Fim de Semana, Savana, and Zambeze.
The Mozambique Information Agency is the country’s official national and international news agency. The government also operates television and radio stations and has granted licenses to many private radio stations.
History of Mozambique
- EARLY SETTLEMENT
From at least the 3rd century ce, Iron Age people who practiced agriculture and kept both cattle and small livestock moved into Mozambique as part of the migration of Bantu speakers from west-central Africa toward the south and east. These people had mastered iron technology and combined the cultivation of some grains with knowledge of root and tree crops. In the process they created such sustained population growth that they needed to expand their territory. In a slow but fairly steady process, one branch of Bantu speakers moved east toward the Indian Ocean and then south along the coast, and another moved more directly south-southeast into the Zimbabwe plateau and highlands of western Mozambique.
The characteristic social unit was the extended patrilineal household headed by an elder male and consisting of his wives, their unmarried children, adult sons, and the sons’ families. Although both social and labour organization varied throughout the area, women were usually responsible for child care, cultivation, gathering of food crops, and food preparation, whereas men were involved in cattle keeping, hunting, toolmaking, and a range of crafts.
Toward the end of the 1st millennium ce, groups of households called nyika had emerged in south-central Mozambique as social units under the authority of a chief and chiefly household. In the 10th century a settlement known as Mapungubwe, which incorporated many nyika, developed in the upper reaches of the Limpopo River. It was the earliest of the settlements featuring stone enclosures, or zimbabwes.
Mozambique Area: 812,379 sq km (313,661 sq mi) Population (2004 est.): 18,812,000 Capital: Maputo Head of state and government: President Joaquim Chissano, assisted by Prime Ministers Pascoal ...>>>Read On<<<
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