There isn’t a word for ‘my’ in the traditional Mozambican languages Chopi and Tsonga. Rather, local culture is built on friendship and community, and their art and traditions reflect the shared way of life. In Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, new mixes with the old, and visitors can take in the city’s historical sights and many unmissable cultural highlights. Keep these five sights in mind when planning your next trip:
In studio – Malangatana’s House
Described as a beacon of artistic vision and cultural pride, the artist Malangatana Ngwenya is one of Africa’s most celebrated contemporary painters. The Malangatana’s House and Studio gives insight into the life and artistic process of the late struggle painter and poet. Known by his first name, Malangatana depicted people’s struggles and suffering he witnessed. His former home serves as a gallery and archive of his astounding work.
The Fortress (Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora da Conceição)
In the centre of Maputo, visit the imposing 1787 fortress, built by the Portuguese colonists and one of the oldest remaining buildings in the city. The fort’s museum explores Maputo’s colonial history as well as local cultural development without foreign influences. The museum also regularly displays art produced by locals.
A meeting of minds – The Ntsindya Cultural Centre
The Ntsindya Cultural Centre was a base for many of Maputo’s revolutionary minds. Intellectuals, musicians and writers of the era before the end of Portuguese rule gathered to discuss and forge a way forward for an independent Mozambique. Another cultural centre of interest is the French-Mozambican Cultural Centre. It is housed in a beautiful old colonial building, and there are regular art exhibitions.
Market time – Xipamanine Market
Weekends are ideal for a visit to the hustle and bustle of one of the city’s oldest Saturday markets, Mercado Xipamanine on Avenida Roby Brothers Street. It is a great place to gain a sense of the cultural heritage of the city. The market sells everything from traditional spices, traditional Mozambican capulana wraps, printed sarongs worn by women, and even Kalashnikov rifles left over from the war of independence.
Lunch inspiration – the home of artist Walter Zand
Renowned artist Walter Zand is part of Mozambique’s new artistic guard. Trained in the ceramic arts, Zand uses multimedia materials in his colourful pieces to convey emotion. View his beautiful artworks over a lunch organised by Dana Tours.
Dana Tours’ Arts & Culture Tour is a brilliant way to experience the rich and diverse sights of Maputo. On the half-day tour, guests are driven to each stop in an air-conditioned vehicle and will discover the magic of this culturally rich and friendly city. Read more about this tour here.