Top 50 interesting facts about Mozambique and Mozambicans
Mozambique is a country in South-East Africa, washed by the Indian Ocean, which shares many similarities with its neighbours. But at the same time – it is a unique country, with its own customs, history and culture. In our article, we have collected 50 fascinating facts about this country and its people, which will help to form a first impression and interestingly plan your holiday in Mozambique.
50 most amazing facts about Mozambicans and Mozambique
So, let’s begin our journey through the history, traditions and sights of this amazing country.
1. The first human settlements appeared in Mozambique about 15-20 thousand years ago. Gradually they formed as tribes of Bushmen and Hottentots who were engaged in hunting and gathering.
2. From the 5th century the territory of the country began to be settled by the Bantu tribes, followed by the Arabs, who were attracted by the gold and ivory of these lands.
3. The first European to visit the country was the Portuguese traveller Vasco da Gama in 1498. Soon the Portuguese were actively building forts here to protect their merchants.
4. The first Portuguese fort on the territory of Mozambique was Sofale, built in 1505. Its remains can still be seen near the city of Beira.
5. These lands got their name from the Arab Sultan Musa ben Bika, who ruled on the island that later became Mozambique.
6. In 1752, Mozambique officially became a Portuguese colony and the centre of the slave trade with Brazil.
7. Mozambique remained a colony longer than any other African country. It did not gain independence until 1975.
8. The end of the 20th century passed in Mozambique under the banner of the Civil War and political repression. Only by 1992 was reconciliation established.
9. Modern Mozambique has 32 million people and continues to be a very poor country.
10. The capital of the country is the city of Maputo, which is home to over one million people. It was founded in 1781 by the Portuguese.
11. Maputo and other major cities in the country have high levels of crime, including organised crime. Many neighbourhoods are controlled by local gangs, and tourists are better off staying away.
12. There is a high risk of Islamic terrorism in some parts of the country. Its supporters are hatching plans to turn Mozambique into an Islamic state.
13. At present almost half of the population of the country professes various forms of Christianity and only about 20 per cent – Islam.
14. Mozambique is a multi-ethnic country, with almost 99 per cent of the population coming from various African tribes. The most common are the Macua, Tsonga, Malawi, and others.
15. The state language of interethnic communication is considered to be Portuguese, although 50 years ago the local population hardly knew it. Now almost 80 per cent of the country’s inhabitants speak Portuguese.
16. Besides Portuguese, more than 40 languages of local tribes are spread in the country. The most spoken are Makua and Tsonga.
17. Within the framework of the programme of introduction of the Portuguese language in the country, not only education is conducted in it, but also TV channels from Portugal and Brazil broadcast in it.
18. Education in the country is free, but only until the age of 12. In addition, you have to pay a fee to enrol in school. Therefore, the literacy rate is still very low here.
19. Mozambique remains largely agrarian country and 80% of its population is engaged in agriculture. Cotton, cashews, sugar cane and tea are grown here.
20. The country has significant mineral resources, of which coal and aluminium are currently being mined.
21. Almost all the country’s architectural landmarks are associated with the Portuguese. In Maputo, for example, there is a Portuguese fort converted into a museum.
22. One of the best preserved forts is located on the island of Mozambique and is named São Sebastião. Near it is the oldest Catholic chapel in South Africa, the Nossa Senhora de Baluarte, built in 1522.
23. The Tunduru Botanical Gardens, built in 1885, are an attraction of the capital. They are decorated with sculptural compositions and paths in the English style.
24. Another attraction of Maputo is the local cathedral. It bears the name of the Immaculate Conception and was built in the style of modernism in the early XX century.
25. The Cahora-Bassa hydroelectric power station on the Zambezi River is considered an interesting attraction. Its reservoir is considered one of the largest artificial lakes in Africa, a favourite place for fishing.
Character and customs of Mozambicans
26. Mozambicans are actually representatives of a variety of African tribes, each of which has its own traditions and customs. And the behaviour of urban dwellers can be very different from that of rural dwellers.
27. In villages live open and friendly people, while in cities, the attitude to white-skinned tourists is wary. Often they are simply ignored and disregarded.
28. Corruption and bribery are widespread among the urban population of Mozambique. Here, even policemen will try to divorce a tourist for money.
29. Peacocks can freely walk along the streets of cities, and even decently dressed people will not hesitate to ask you to leave you to finish your sandwich.
30. The most common ethnic group in the country is the Makua. These natives are easily recognisable by the white faces of their women. It is considered the height of beauty for the Makua to put white paste on their faces.
31. The Makua, like other local tribes, largely continue to worship pagan gods on a par with Christianity and Islam. They believe in the spirits of nature and often perform various rituals, such as invoking rain.
32. According to Makua mythology, the gods created people and gave them tools, but people were lazy. Then the gods gave the tools to monkeys, and they coped with them perfectly. The gods ripped off the tails of the monkeys and sewed them on to humans. So the first humans became monkeys, and the monkeys became modern humans. Such is Darwin’s African theory.
33. An unusual Makua dance is a dance on stilts. To perform it, men wear masks and colourful outfits and jump on stilts for hours.
34. Other tribes also have interesting dances. For example, the Chopi people are used to play real dance battles between warriors with spears, dressed in animal skins.
35. But the most unusual traditions can be observed among the Chewa people. In this tribe, all adult members undergo a compulsory initiation to secret knowledge, after which they become Nyau – mask-wearers.
36. In dances, Nyau men are represented as spirits, representatives of the world of death, and women without masks break into houses and intimidate the inhabitants. In the past, such dances have often resulted in murders, but now it is more of a theatrical performance.
37. One of the most popular modern dances in the country is the Marrabenta, a particular style born in the poor neighbourhoods of Maputo at the beginning of the last century. Now an annual music festival is dedicated to this dance.
38. One of the most popular souvenirs in the country are wooden masks carved by the Makonde people. They depict either humans or evil spirits.
39. The Makonde tribe is also known for their past tradition of inserting pewter jewellery into their lower lip or nose.
40. The national cuisine of Mozambique is not very original. In almost all dishes, the locals add a spicy piri-piri sauce made from local peppers.
41. In the years after the Civil War in, the country began to record frequent cases of possession by spirits of dead soldiers. These spirits began to be called Gamba, and they were almost always possessed by women.
The nature of Mozambique
42. Mozambique lies in two climatic zones. In the north – it is a subtropical climate, in the central and southern areas – tropical. These climate types are characterised by two seasons, wet and dry. The rainy season in the country lasts from December to March.
43. Two types of natural disasters are widespread in Mozambique and cause great damage: floods and drought.
44. Mozambique stretches almost 3,000 kilometres along the Indian Ocean. It has many beautiful beaches and bays, but only a small part of them is currently used for tourism.
45. In the north-east of the country lies Lake Nyasa. It is one of Africa’s largest lakes, set in a deep rift in the Earth’s crust – the East African Rift. The maximum depth of the lake is 706 metres.
46. One of the largest rivers in Africa, the Zambezi, flows through the territory of the Republic. Its length is 2660 metres, and it is considered the best place for river fishing in the region.
47. There are 8 national parks and 5 reserves in the country.
48. The Bazaruto Islands are a favourite destination for tourists and are part of the national park of the same name. They are famous for their beaches, where giant sea turtles like to lounge.
49. The Bazaruto Islands have five hotels for tourists, which is very unusual for protected areas.
50. The largest park in the country is Limpopo, which covers an area of 11 thousand square kilometres. And the most popular with tourists is Gorongosa Park.
Friends! If you know more interesting facts about the tribes of Mozambique and the country itself, please share them in the comments. This country is full of amazing stories, culture and traditions, and many people would be happy to learn something new. We will be very grateful to you!