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Posts tagged "mozambique"

In Photos: “Occupations” by Filipe Branquinho.

As the title suggests, in his on-going series taken around his hometown of Maputo, Mozambique, the Lusophone country’s capital city, visual artist Filipe Branquinho, a formally trained architect, documents the livelihoods of his fellow citizens at their place of work. Branquinho began the project in 2011 with the objective to “ photograph the urban working people in their environments and to move away from the cliché of rural Africa”, and discovering how people in this city that had seen so much violence and turmoil in the years past occupied their time and related to the environment around them.

Although having to hone his own skills and develop both a technical and personal style and approach to the medium, Branquinho isn’t new to the world of photography. His father was a journalist and friend to other prominent Mozambican photographers of the mid-late 20th century such as Ricardo Rangel, Kok Nam and José Cabral.

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All Africa, All the time.


by Eliana NZualo.

 a country like Mozambique, where HIV prevalence in women is 13,1% versus 9,2% for men, a female condom would indubitably increase the negotiation power for women and offer a different option for safe sex that didn’t depend on the men.

As BBC stated recently, the biggest advantages are the fact that it can be inserted hours before sexual intercourse and that it gives the vulva more protection than a male condom and unlike the first generation of female condoms, the ones currently available don’t make a lot of noise nor have a flawed design.

In Maputo there are female condoms available and although not as much as male condoms, most women have heard about it and even tried it.

A local sales promoter tells me that her male clients are willing to try something new and take a few days off from the male condom. For them, it is an escape. Women, on the other hand, find it intriguing and usually buy it because of the packaging or prizes associated with promotional campaigns.

When talking about female condoms there is a focus on the liberation of women and their empowerment, almost ignoring the very basic nature of a condom: sex. A condom is supposed to be functional for both parties and if anything, add something to their users and not take it away.

The female condom however, is a one-size-fits-all tool. There hasn’t been a lot of investment in terms of different sizes, flavors, textures, materials or even colors.

The main concern seems to be the fact that foreplay won’t be interrupted and male sexual arousal will not be affected by the insertion of a condom. By doing this, men are only offered the fun parts of it, leaving women with all the worries.

On the BBC article, it reads “The female condom is not as tight for men” and theOrigami website says “[it can] accommodate a range of penis sizes”. These statements focus sexual pleasure for women, and on a broader level the health of women’s sex lives, on the satisfaction of the men.

Implicitly, if women want safe sex then they should take all the responsibility. Is that what feminism is really about?

There’s the insinuation that female condoms are just for women and male condoms are just for men, when in reality both parts can and should participate on the decision of using a condom and which one to use.

More so, the rhetoric is always about developing countries. Whether it is India orNigeria, female condoms seem to be good for third world women only. Western women are never the target for female condom use campaigns.

This exposes the reality of the aid industry and the power dynamics that play when it comes to strategic thinking and program designing for HIV prevention in poor/ rural areas. The decision makers, mostly western white middle-class women are unaware of the class differences, racial discrimination and even the fight for democratic governments that play a part in the lives of the women they so want to help, and often impose a feminism centered exclusively on gender inequality.

As bell hooks beautifully said “feminism is for everybody”, but everybody needs to be aware of the environment and people to which they want to direct feminist agenda to and the issues said feminism will tackle.

The relationship between our politics and our sexualities is not always peaceful. Emotionally and intellectually the female condom may appeal to most women – I love the idea of the female condom, but the practicality of it is another story.

(Part II)

[image via npr]

About the writer: Eliana NZualo is a “Poet. Dreamer. Human. Aspiring self-made woman” 22 year old writer from Mozambique, with interests in Feminism, Neo-Colonialism and Poetry. She’s also a lover of arts and culture, with hopes of co-founding a Social Enterprise in Mozambique and publish a variety of books.

Zimbabwe and Morocco join Nigeria and Mali as both teams progressed to next stage of CAF / Africa Cup of Nations after defeating Burkina Faso and Uganda respectively. 

Nigeria beat hosts South Africa 3-1 on Sunday whilst Mali ousted Mozambique with a 2-1 defeat on the same day.

These four teams will meet each other at the quarter finals.


Maputo, Mozambique

I can’t say when the change came, when we moved - we being those of us Africans whose cultures historically revered the elderly and bestowed upon them an almost saintly kind of respect - from upholding the once firm traditions of our past, to almost casting a sort of social amnesia upon ourselves, conveniently forgetting the place the elderly amongst us held within our communities.

As someone who didn’t have the opportunity to grow up around my grandparents, it was my parents who both reminded and made great efforts to instill a sense of deep respect for the elderly that would grow to feel almost natural whenever I was in the presence of someone much older than myself.

But often, I’d in some become privy to concerned conversations where those of my parents generation would express, with great bitterness, their disdain at African youth who seemed to be falling out of touch with this crucial tradition of reverence for the elderly - a sentiment that I was quickly reminded of when looking at Mozambican photographer Mário Macilau's series dedicated to elderly African people, titled “Esquecidos” (Forgotten).

Social amnesia isn’t the solitary cause of this concerning treatment of the elderly in many African countries. There are several factors that have contributed to this specific loss of value within our cultures and, of course, it is more complicated than simply ‘forgetting’ or not caring for the elderly. Industrialization, lack of resources, historical influences and transitions, as well as the side-effects of urban migration and of diseases such as HIV/AIDS have all, in some way, had an impact on the displacement of the elderly within certain African cultures.

The question now is, how do we change all of this?

September: Highlighting African Photographers


Mozambique: Meanings Behind Women’s Traditional Mussiro Masks

In the northern coastal region and islands of Mozambique, it’s common to come across women with faces covered with a natural white mask, called mussiro or n’siro. The purpose of the mask seems to have evolved over time. Nowadays it tends to be considered more as a means of beautifying the skin, but according to oral accounts, mussiro masks used to carry other subliminal messages related to the civil status of women.

While some meanings might have been lost through history, we pay homage to Mozambican women through this article on what some consider to be one of the strongest brand images of the country.

Matope Jose, from Mozmaníacos, wrote[pt] about the mussiro tradition:

"The Nampula province is traditionally known as the land of “muthiana orera”, or simply beautiful ladies. The women from that region of the country have a technique that is particular to them: they treat the skin from an early age, using a sought-after forest species called mussiro, a plant that by law must be preserved and multiplied, and that is used more generally by communities to cure various diseases, as well as for decorative purposes."

In the following video [pt] by Julio Silva, women from Angoche explain how the tradition has been passed down to today’s generation from their grandparents, and they show how the cream is extracted from the Olax dissitiflora plant using a stone and some water:


"This is the plant that we, as mussiros, use on our faces. It is what you can see on my face, that’s the plant.

I am Fátima, from Angoche. This mussiro, our grandparents first used it to show when a girl was a virgin. Then she would enter a house. They painted themselves with this mussiro to become white, until a boy came along who they fell in love with and married; only afterwards did they stop using the mussiro. Only afterwards, they use the mussiro like this, when someone is outside, in order to be white, to make their faces beautiful. This is mussiro. The plant is in the forest. While we usually go and meet our husbands, the great grandparents go and cut it and start selling it. Now I will show you the way we make the mussiro.”

A post [pt] on the Baía magazine website adds that the tradition of mussiro being used by virgins or by women whose husbands were away is no longer its only usage:

"Nowadays, this paste is widely used and has been “liberalised” for all women, from the north to south of the country, so that it can be used not only by the Makwa or Makonde women, but also by the Manhungue, Machuabo, Maronga, Machope, Matswa, etc. It is already considered to be a beauty treatment used by all women specially concerned with African feminine beauty. Some designers are expecting their models to use this “Afro paste” on major catwalks, as they do at Mozambique Fashion Week."


A grandmother cares for her grandchild in Mozambique.

EVENING TUNE: Lizha James ft Uhuru - Quem Ti Mandou

The queen of Mozambican music scene, and arguably one of the greatest musicians to come out of Lusophone African, is back with a brand new multilingual track that sees her teaming up with South African artist Uhuru for the song ‘Quem Ti Mandou’. Literally translating to ‘who sent it’ in Portuguese, the song has a distinct and infectious Southern African house melody that’s a little different to what we’re used to from Lizha James, but the result is definitely a match made in house music heaven.

AUGUST: Celebrating African Women

French photojournalist Olivier Martel has travelled the world capturing images of women across the globe from all walks of life. Here are some of his pictures of women from around the African continent including Mozambique, Libya, Senegal and the Ivory Coast.

Click photos for captions.

AUGUST: Celebrating African Women



Frederico Martins

(via lacarpa)

Exquisite photography done in a style similar to that of Moroccan photographer Hassan Hajjaj’s ‘My Rock Stars' portrait series.

The general Makonde term for tattoo is dinembo (“design” or “decoration”) and the tattooing process usually required one to three sessions with the mpundi wa dinembo (“tattoo design artist”) to produce the desired result.

*If a client’s skin was light, one meeting with the tattooist was usually enough, but those clients with darker complexions paid their tattoo masters several visits. Some boys and girls with darker complexions lost their courage if they had to be tattooed a second or third time and they never completed their tattooing.

Those who ran away were ridiculed and even threatened by the woman who acted as their “godmother” during the dinembo rite, because for the Makonde the tattoo ritual was a sign of courage and “to show I am a Makonde.” One Makonde woman told me that “men would not be interested in a woman without her markings, and it was obligatory to get the tattoos for this reason or else you could not be married.”

At one time, women’s facial tattoos were almost as common as the ndona, or upper lip labret. Makonde labrets are made of black ebony and an upright needle passing close to the nose is usually inserted in its center. This was a sign that the woman had achieved marriageable age. Labret holes were first pierced through the upper lip during a girl’s initiation and enlarged over time.

Makonde tattooing practice was a form of skin-cut tattooing. After the cuts were made with traditional knife-like tattoo implements called chipopo, vegetable carbon from the castor bean plant was rubbed into the incisions producing a dark blue color. The tattoos were then washed with water and then oil prepared from castor beans was applied with a feather for healing purposes.

Common decorative motifs such as spiders (lidangadanga), sacred antelope (nandolo), and even yucca root bundles (nkaña) may have had magical associations in the past. And today Makonde women continue to believe that the tattoos placed on their abdomen (mankani) and inner thighs (nchika) are erotic and also have the supernatural power to attract a husband. Of course, the motifs used to decorate these areas, usually palm trees (nadi) or their fruit, and especially the lizard (ligwañula) or a group of lizards (nantchiwane) are believed to enhance fertility.

Tattoos of the Makonde of Mozambique

*Interesting commentary made about skin tone/complexions and the difficulty of tattooing.

AUGUST: Celebrating African Women

(via dynamicafrica)


Traditional Mozambican dance: Caluto

Caluto is a dance from the northern province of Zambézia. It’s only danced by men to showcase their virility and masculinity. 

Fuck Yeah, Mozambique! Like Our Facebook Page

DYNAMIC AFRICANS: I Love Southern Africa

This blog first caught my attention perhaps a little over a month, or so, ago, and it’s safe to say it was love at first sight.

Dedicated to representing a total of 12 countries, from Angola to Zambia, Madagascar to Lesotho, the individual behind the blog manages to take it all in stride shedding essential knowledge on each country, posting incredibly thorough, diverse and in-depth content that’s is beyond enriching.

Having a thorough appreciation of this blog, and thus it’s curator, it seemed only right to feature them in this series of Dynamic Africans on tumblr. My interview only made me even more of a fan and I’m left even more inspired by the person behind I Love Southern Africa.

In about five sentences or less, can you tell us a little about yourself. Who is the person behind the blog?

I’m a young woman from two of the countries I blog about, currently starting a new chapter in my life after having taken care of family for a while (the African immigrant’s story!). 

What are the main objectives of your blog? What led or inspired you to create it?

My main objective was to shine a light on everything time can permit to blog on Southern Africa.  Outside of the countries themselves, not much is known or spoken of Southern Africa other than HIV/AIDS, Robert Mugabe, Malawi as it pertains to Madonna, Namibia as it pertains to Angelina Jolie and Madagascar as it pertains to the animated movie of the same name. 

Southern Africa is also known primarily for our animals but not the people around them, their history, dreams etc.  It’s a region with a very rich and intense history which influences the vibrant culture and life today. 

Since starting this blog, what has kept you motivated and/or what new things have you learned along the way?

I must admit I also didn’t know too much about the whole region and I feel like I am blogging for myself at times when I get excited about finding something I had never known. 

I am essentially motivated by my own ignorance about the area and my love for it as well. 

Other African diaspora blogs also inspire me to keep digging, sharing and finding what I would’ve never thought to look for.  I’m still stunned by the incredible history and roles played by everyone in shaping the region then and today. 

What do you love most about Southern Africa/being from Southern Africa, and in what ways are you able to connect with Africans from other regions?

Like all folks in the diaspora I love my people, culture, history, politics and self deprecating humour to name a few! I love watching us Southern Africans expand our Pan-Africaness (if there is such a term?) even though we are still unfortunately closed off from the rest of the diaspora in some ways. 

I always thought it would be politics that unite all Africans but I see how our current youth culture, specifically music brings everyone together.  I love reading comments under Youtube videos from people all across the diaspora showing love to a musician whose lyrics they don’t understand but they feel the music. 

I’ve been a wanna-be die-hard Pan Africanist since my early teens and I still fall in love with everything from the fashion from other regions to the literature and political heroes.  Oh and the food - I can finally make Egusi without following instructions on Youtube!

Being an African in the diaspora, what has been the most difficult and/or inspiring element of this experience for you? 

The most inspiring element has also been the most difficult:  Digging in the crates for photographs, books etc is worth every late night and eye bags. 

However, realizing how much of my own history I was never taught, how much of it exists in foreign institutions and not our own and how much of our history was recorded by others while our own methods of recording our history were forcibly wiped out, drove me to tears a few times.  

I’m reassured by current and past artists, musicians, writers, bloggers etc of the diaspora who have and continue to express our souls.

Lastly, where else can you be found online?

Twitter: @SouthRnAfrika - but I am rarely there.  Stuck on Tumblr!


Highly recommended watch. Might talk about it in one of my upcoming podcast series (if I ever get ‘round to doing it).


Documentary: Europe’s New Refugees to Africa and South America

Floods of immigrants have always been a source of political tension in Europe, usually characterised y young African migrants desperately trying to get to Europe. Now, the European Union is facing up to an unusual new migration worry: migrants fleeing from Europe’s faltering economies to Africa and South America.

The economic boom is over is Europe and now failing European economies are all experiencing an unusual pattern of emigration.

In the Portuguese capital Lisbon, queues form outside African embassies as EU citizens try to acquire working visas. According to ex-pat Juliana Fleming, “I know many people who are trying to sell their homes in Portugal, to settle in Mozambique”. 300,000 have left Spain since the banking crisis in 2008. Chef Carlos Garcia couldn’t find work in Madrid, so instead went to look in Argentina. “You walk in the centre of Buenos Aires, and you feel like you are in Spain. I strongly recommend it to anyone who sees no future prospects”.