You know, if the Portuguese-speaking countries were hanging out in a group it would look kind of like this: [chatter] Mozambique: Guys, guys, guys… …and I’m gonna start speaking English now. [Geography Now! theme] Everybody, I’m your host Barbs. Welcome to Africa’s Portuguese-speaking one-time-allied-with-Communists part of the Commonwealth, even though they were never under the British country…. Oh, and they’re the only country to have all 5 vowels in their name. Off to a great start! Let’s jump into the globe now. Shall we? [♪♪] When it comes to Africa, location matters, and with Mozambique, it’s a pretty sweet deal. The only issue is, historically things got a little weird and they had to kind of adapt to, like, a billion different changes. First of all, the country lies in southeast Africa, bordered by 6 other countries – don’t forget little Eswatini! – and the Indian Ocean as their coast to the east, just a skip away from the Comoros Islands, Mayotte and Madagascar. The country is divided into 10 provinces. The capital Maputo, located in the south, encapsulated by the separate Maputo province. Don’t get the two confused. The city also has the country’s largest and only international airport, Maputo International. After Maputo’s general metropolitan area, the next largest cities are Nampula and Beira along the coast. However, along the coast you have the 3 powerhouse cities that control most of the trade sector, with the largest seaports and railway hubs: Maputo, Beira, and Nacala. Unfortunately, the railways only go inland and do not connect to each other, so cross-country rail travel isn’t available yet. The country has 3 main island archipelagos off its coast, the Quirimbas in the north, the Primeras and Segundas a little further south, and the largest one, Bazaruto, a little more south. However, this little guy, the *island* of Mozambique, is kind of like the most important piece to the puzzle, as it was pretty much the hub that started the country. It was first inhabited by Swahilis, then a sultan (whose name is where the country gets its name from), and finally the Portuguese came in and took over. They built a naval base and a church made of coral, known as the oldest European building in the Southern Hemisphere. And, speaking of cool places, some notable ones that you might want to check out if you ever visit might include: the Heroes Square, the Benguerra lodge with lots of cool snorkelling, the historic buildings of Inhambane, the Grand Hotel of Beira, the statues of Samora Machel in Maputo, the lion house, the Maputo Natural History Museum, and there are so many churches and cathedrals like these, too many amazing beaches and diving spots, Tofo Beach and Ponta do Ouro are kind of like the most popular ones, however many Mozambicans I have talked to have said that Pemba in the north is kind of like the cool, isolated holiday destination that the locals like to fly to and visit. Very few outsiders know about it, so now you can go there and, just like Bob Saget, completely destroy what was intended to portray as an innocent, wholesome image. Nah, but seriously, Mozambique is like the best hidden beach country that nobody really knows about. Nature here really knows how to stand out. Which brings us to… [♪♪] Now, in the Djibouti episode, we talked about how the East African Rift starts there. We’ve covered countries along the fault line, and now we get to Mozambique, the end of the crack that started in Djibouti. [lauging] First of all, Mozambique essentially lies right where the African plate meets the Somali plate, which is more like a dangling shard that is still connected to the African plate. This is where the East African Rift starts and ends. A tectonic ridge cuts through the land and ends roughly around the middle part of Mozambique. The country is generally flat along the coast, with mangroves along the shallow oceanic shelf that provides few natural harbors. The inland north and west have the highest mountains, including the highest peak, Mount Binga, shared with Zimbabwe Technically, the largest lake is Lake Malawi shared with Malawi, obviously. However, if you don’t consider shared lakes, the Cahora Bassa Reservoir is the largest inland body of water. It is the fourth largest artificial lake in all of Africa, created by the Cahora Bassa Dam which powers about 80% of the country, on the longest river, the mighty Zambezi. And, speaking of mighty, it’s time for my triple shot of espresso break, which means Noah steps into the ring and tackles the rest of the physical geography section. -You can go now.
-Alright. Ecologically speaking, Mozambique is rich in biodiversity. Over 230 species of mammals and 740 species of birds can be found in the country. These range from the “Big 5” to the lesser-known Nyala antelope and aardwolf and the national animal, the African elephant. No surprise, half of the countries in Africa either claim the elephants or lion. Great Britain: And outside Africa too! For some reason, yes, unfortunately poaching has become quite an issue in recent years, especially with the illegal ivory trade. The largest protected area, the Niassa Nature Reserve, divided into 6 hunting blocks, is poorly developed and maintained, which only adds to the problem. Otherwise economically speaking, Mozambique has had to change a lot of things after independence and subsequent civil wars. The country fell into an intense downward spiral due to mismanagement, and is just now starting to pick themselves up with new strategic reforms. Things like changing about 1200 state-owned enterprises over to privatization and introducing a value-added tax system to goods and services. On top of that, their foreign debt was greatly reduced through forgiveness and rescheduling under the IMF’s Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. Nonetheless, even though they have one of the world’s highest annual GDP growths, they still rank as one of the world’s most underdeveloped nations. But if it’s one of the world’s highest annual gross, that means things are looking up for them though, right? Yes, but it takes time. Because, you know, the ramifications of civil war kind of leave their mark. Subsistence agriculture and fishing is still vital to the lives of most citizens, and makes up about 80% of the workforce. Most exports include things like aluminum, lumber, cotton, prawns, and sugar. Oh, and a gas and oil reserve that has been discovered which helps out, too. And to boost revenue, though, they’ve developed a new take on tourism: high quality, low volume, focusing on serving wealthy travelers with money to throw. If you look at the coast of Mozambique, most beach resorts are quite lavish and ornate. The Anantara Bazaruto island resort charges nearly $1000 per night. It is pretty nice looking though, so I mean… Yeah. The Maldives: Hmm, we should hang out sometime. Otherwise, food! In Mozambique, it’s interesting, because in some places, especially in the largest cities, you see remnants of the Portuguese and Arab influence. Some dishes you guys, the Mozambican geograpeeps suggested we mention include things like: Kakana, Matapa, Xiguinha, collard greens cooked in various ways, Galinha zambeziana, Piripiri chicken, finally, carapau is the most commonly eaten fish, And of course the staple found with multiple dishes being Xima. Cuisine is just one of the amazing facets of culture. So much more to cover, though. So that means we now head over to… [♪♪] -Thank you, Noah! Follow him on Instagram.
-Of course. -Alright, *you* can go now.
-Oh, okay. All right. Now, Mozambique is strange because it’s kind of like… How can I put this? Politically fluid? It’s like, “Hey, let’s try a one-party, state-run socialist system and even though we’re not British-colonized, let’s identify as a commonwealth.” Okay, stepping on social issue analogous thin ice here! Agreed. Let’s move on. First of all, the country has about 30 million people and about half the population is under 15. The vast majority of the population, at about 99%, falls under the broader Bantu African people group, the largest groups being the Makhuwa, Tsonga, Lomwe, and Sena, whereas the remainder are mostly made up of Europeans (mostly Portuguese), and a few Indians and Chinese. Each of the main Bantu groups mentioned kind of has their own pocket of Mozambique. For example, the largest group, the Makuhwa, mostly live in the north, and the Swahili live along the north coast. The Shona Karanga can be found around the Zambezi Valley, the Tsonga and Nuni peoples inhabit most of the south, other small pockets of other people groups are sprinkled in the mix, and there you go! Mozambique pizza. They use the Mozambique metical as their currency, they use the types C and F and M plug outlets, and they drive, surprisingly, on the left side of the road. I mean, think about it, literally everyone around them does, so yeah. Which brings us to our next part, the Mozambican people. What is it like to be one? Well, first off, it’s interesting because it’s kind of like the most isolated Portuguese-speaking country. East Timor: Ahem! Second-most. I mean, Angola has easier access to the other guys along the Atlantic, but Mozambique is like on the other side of the continent on the Indian Ocean, surrounded by English speakers. It’s kind of like: [laughing] South Africa: You see this meme?!
Mozambique: Wait, hey hey hey, what – what’s so funny? South Africa: Have a look at it.
Mozambique: Oh, okay. [all laughing] South Africa: You get it?
Mozambique: Oh, I hope Brazil doesn’t see this! Zimbabwe: Oh, he won’t know, ’cause you’re one of us.
Tanzania: One of us now. And that’s kind of how they became a commonwealth in 1995. Over the years, they’ve pretty much kind of had to adapt to their surroundings. I mean, at one point, Portugal wanted to connect Angola and Mozambique in the middle, but then it was like: Great Britain: So yeah, I’m gonna take all the land in between Angola and Mozambique. Portugal: Uh, no, are you kidding me? Great Britain: My army’s bigger.
Portugal: Okay then. And that’s how Zambia was born. To this day, Portuguese is the only official language used in government and media, however it’s mostly used as a second language after their various Bantu mother tongues. And of course they have their own distinct way of speaking it. Here’s one of our own Mozambican geograpeeps explaining: Hi, my name is Adonay, and I’m from Mozambique. In the native Portuguese, they might say… In the Mozambican Portuguese, we say… Hey, my name is Tim. “Bicycle,” in Portugal you’d say “bicicleta,” Mozambique, you’d say “jinga.” “Backpack,” Portugal you’d say “mochila” or “mala,” in Mozambique, you say “pasta,” which in Portuguese means “paste.” And probably the most typical Mozambican word is “maninge,” which is basically a way to say “very.” One common use of the word is “maninge nice,” “nice” being “nice” from English. Faith-wise, over half of the population is Christian, at around 56%, mostly Catholic and Protestant. About 18% are Muslim. Culturally speaking, again, it depends on which people group you are interacting with. They all kind of have their own customs and traditions. However, a few universal things you’ll notice are the Portuguese and Arab remnants from the past. Prior to Portuguese colonization, Arabs had set up port towns along the coast, mostly for the Arab slave trade along the Indian Ocean. But even before that, tribal colonies and societies had already been established. This guy, the leader of the Gaza Empire in southern Mozambique, was actually the nephew of Shaka Zulu. The capulana is a very commonly worn garment by women. It has many uses: you can, like, cover your head or hold storage or carry babies. The largest group the Makhuwa, are known for having interesting ebony family tree carvings that depict lineage in visual form. Dance is huge, of course. The Makhuwa also have a stilt dance with colorful masks. The Chopi people have a very special hunting dance that reenacts battles. The women on Mozambique island have a quick rope-jumping dance. Gule wamkulu from the Chewa people is classified by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity And this is just about the time where we talk about history! In the quickest way I can put it: San hunters and gatherers, Bantu migration, Arab and Indian exploration, Arab sultan and slave trade era, Vasco de Gama stops by, he’s like, “I want in on this,” Portuguese colonization for centuries, administration kind of falls into the hands of large private companies, the fight for independence, independence in 1975, a new USSR Communist-allied socialist party called FRELIMO takes over, the National Resistance Party comes in, civil war years, civil war ends in the ’90s, new era of democracy, they joined the Commonwealth of Nations, terrorist attacks in northern provinces, foreign aid trouble, in 2015 the country is declared to be landmine free, economy steadily grows, And here we are today. Some notable people of Mozambican descent or from Mozambique might include: Samora Machel, Joaquim Chissano, Mr. Bow, Liloca, Mia Cuonto, Hugo Diogo, AKA “Dygo Boy,” Maria Mutola, Paulina Chiziana, Moreira Chonguica, Gran’Mah, Ricardo Pinto Jorge, Lizha James, Gonçalo Mabunda, and Abel Xavier. All right, that’s just about it, enough on Mozambique. Let’s talk about their affiliates now, shall we? [♪♪] Now, because of their unique location on the Indian Ocean, Mozambique has kind of had to adopt different diplomatic measures than the rest of their Lusophone cousins. Oh, and if you’re new to this channel, “Lusophone” means “Portuguese-speaking.” First of all, outside of Africa, the US and China have been heavily investing into the country, the US taking over much of the medical issues, mostly pertaining to HIV and AIDS, whereas China funds many of the infrastructure projects like the Maputo Bridge. After South Africa, though, Italy actually is their largest export partner and does amazing business with them in terms of trade. Mozambique loves Brazilian TV shows and movies. Angola is their closest Lusophone African friend. They just signed an agreement that allows visa-free travel between the two. I asked a lot of you guys, the Mozambican geograpeeps, though, and many of you have said that the best friends are probably… South Africa and, to a lesser extent, maybe Portugal? Despite the colonial past. Portugal keeps close ties not just as a Lusophone friend, but in business too. Today, they are the second largest private investor in the country. They canceled nearly $400 million in debt back in 2008, and they signed a $124 million fund towards the energy sector. South Africa’s relationship, markets, and business play a huge role in the lifeblood that keeps Mozambique afloat. About a third of all exports go to them and a quarter of all imports come from them. Historically, they supported the resistance party during civil war times. Many Mozambicans move across the border to find work and education opportunites. They share many of the same tribes and people groups. Their former first lady even married Nelson Mandela. In conclusion, Mozambique is beautiful, but it’s kind of like a political Lusophone anomaly that got stuck in the English world. But they kind of like it. Stay tuned, Myanmar is coming up next! [♪♪]