Mozambique

Now we’re leaving Eswatini

And heading off to Mozambique

So put on your best dungarees

We’ll need to learn some Portuguese

 

Why you may ask, Well,

The national language hails from Portugal

Yes, Portuguese is the national language

Although for 50%, it’s a second language

Most speak Makhuwa, Sen or Swahili

                 

How bout seeing, Lourenco Marques the capital city?

Then on to the largest city, Maputo

In both places, there’s lots to do

On the left is Maputo City Hall; That we can see

On the right is Lourenco Marques. - Note the beauty- 

 

With rich and extensive natural resources, Mozambique is endowed

Agriculture fuels the economy, but industry is both growing and allowed

                         

Remember learning about Vasco da Gama in school?

You’ll never guess what he did so the Sultan he could fool

Fearing the local population would to Christians be hostile

da Gama impersonated a Muslim and did it with a smile

That was in 1498, then colonization began in 1505

For four centuries, the colonial country survived. 

        

Slavery was part of the economy back then

People were bought and sold to work plantations

Abolished in the early 19th century,

But continued quite covertly

 

Originally the People's Republic of Mozambique was the name

Gained independence from Portugal in1975; many wars became:

Guerrilla anti-communist movement financed by Zimbabwe

Then supplanted by apartheid of South Africa, you see

President Samora Machel believing that communism was best at that date

Help by Cuba & the Soviet Union, he established a one-party Marxist state

Of reforms:  education and health were nationalized;

Radio and press placed under government control, you realize  

Then in 1986, his plane crashed and he died

Some believed sabotage was tried

 

People there have lived with wars just about every day

From 1977 to 1992 civil wars plagued the nation in every way

Finally, in 1992 a semblance of peace returned -

Overseen by peacekeeping force of the United Nations

In 1995, Mozambique joined the Commonwealth of Nations

The first nation to never have been part of the British Empire

 

Ain’t gonna study war no more

Ain’t gonna study war no more

Ain’’t gonna study war no more

Other problems brought devastation galore                               

Cyclone flooding in 2002

Killed hundreds; damaged infrastructure too.

 

Suspicions of espionage throughout the country spread

Sexual assaults, murders, executions brought dread

Men pardoned  for murdering their wives

“She refused to serve me food"... "At me her witchcraft was aimed”
so they said

Orphaned children and disabled are very vulnerable… think I’ll cry

Child prostitution; service denial, enforcement turning a blind eye

 

Don’t wanna study war no more

Don’t wanna study war no more

 

Let’s see if we can find something more positive

Resistance and rebellion gave voice to the creative

Poets wrote to foster hope; but were arrested

Mozambique’s national music called Marrabenta,

Combines Portuguese folk music with Mozambican dance

 

Education is thought to be key

In Canada as well in developing countries

The wife of President Marchel, Graca Simbine Machel

Became Minister of Education and Culture

More - 40% more - students in enrolled in school

Increase of 90% for boys & 75% for girls… Cool

The public schools are free, but lack supplies         

60% go to public school; but secondary school is not free

So only 7% continue consequently

1/3 of people over 15 struggle with illiteracy

        

How many people in  Mozambique?

39.6 million - ain’t that sweet

Most are between 15 and 64

Male ratio to female, slightly more

Life expectancy is increasing here -

In 2021, up 0.68% from last year

From 60.88 years to 61..3

That really surprised me

Life expectancy in Africa averages 63.5 

In spite of all civil unrest, people are working to survive

(BTW - Canadian life expectancy is 81)          

 

Isn’t the scenery just stunning

No wonder more tourists are coming

Internationally famous award-winning artist: 

Malangatana Valente Ngwenya, painter and poet

Founder of the Mozambican Peace Movement

Mozambique is known for its woodcarvings,                    

Sandalwood and ebony

Yes!  That’s Santa Clause you see!

Very delicate - now are you starving? 

We could have celebrated Mozambican Women’s Day

On April 7th - it’s one of eight national holidays

Since 2001, the country’s  Gross Domestic Product (GDP)  growth

Has been among the world’s highest

But still ranks as one of the poorest

One of  the highest  rates of inequality

But hope for the future is there to see

 

So let’s go find something to eat

Seafood dishes with piri-piri are not sweet

Oh no!  piri-piri means spicy spicy

So order carefully; treat your tummy nicely

When you read, about read about SLF

You’ll learn more about Graca Simbine Machel

Fascinating, I’m sure you’ll agree

Then off we’ll go to  Zimbabwe

 

Another scene of  Maputo:

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SLF Supports Projects in Mozambique

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                                          Sweden Abroad, Enabel (a Belgian development agency) and SLF all support Kukumbi – Organization for Rural Development.

Their website says, “We were established in 1998 with a view to contributing to the continuous socioeconomic development of communities-in-need to vulnerable people through the fortification of their resilience.” (translated from Portuguese!)
 

Kukumbi was established by a union of young people in Zambezia with extensive experience of working with communities affected by war.  Kukumbi’s vision is an improved community in which poverty has been eradicated and communities have control over their needs and developmental processes.  Kukumbi strives to reduce poverty and increase community resilience to ongoing events such as natural disasters, by developing capacities of men, women, young and old, with or without disabilities.

 

A week of Nutritional and Food Rehabilitation Training in 2020 was attended by case managers, VCLA leaders and facilitators from Crown Communities, Mane, Malinguine, Newale, Celestino and Paua in Namacurra district.  This was part of Project Force “The Community and the Child.”
 

And last year a week-long workshop was held promoting the Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Rural Girls and Women in Zambézia through access and use of ICT's (Information Communication Technologies).

 

A new project in 2021 will focus on renewable energy and productive water for irrigation purposes. Applicants are being sought to manage solar-powered irrigation systems and sustainable farming systems.

The Strengthen Community and Children Project is another new project that aims to strengthen the communities in support of orphaned and vulnerable children, as well as their care-givers.

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Mozambican Treatment Access Movement (MATRAM)

MATRAM is an advocacy organization campaigning for access to treatment and access to HIV Treatment education.   It was created on 29 October 2004, when there was no political leadership in Mozambique for provision of ARVs.

But even after that, access to medicines was never easy.

In March 2008 the Mozambique government closed 23 day care hospitals for HIV-positive patients and began integrating the patients into mainstream institutions, saying the exclusive nature of day centres was harming efforts to eradicate stigma and discrimination.


At that time, an estimated 16 percent of Mozambique's 21 million people were living with the virus. In just four years, people receiving antiretroviral drugs had increased from 6,000 to 140,000.


César Mafanequiço, national coordinator of MATRAM, said the government had closed the day care hospitals without consulting civil society or people living with HIV. 
Accessing treatment had become even more difficult for those not yet on life-prolonging ARVs, while the quality of patient care had also been affected.

 

Since those days MATRAM has helped build up transnational networks of volunteers in new public space, who stand up for their rights. In 2020 MATRAM  conducted treatment literacy training in Gaza and Maputo Province.  60 people representing community-based organizations, traditional leaders, faith based leaders, and traditional healers took part in the training.


Mozambique was hard hit by cyclones in 2019, then by COVID in 2020 and Cyclone Eloise in January this year .  Cesar tells us MATRAM has  been right there helping local communities to rebuild sanitation and water systems and redevelop their farms.

A word about Graca Machel

Graça Machel née Simbine; born October 1945, is a Mozambican politician and humanitarian.  She is an international advocate for women's and children's rights and was made an honorary British Dame by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997 for her humanitarian work. 

She married Samora Machel, the first president of Mozambique, in 1975. Samora Machel died in office in 1986 when his presidential aircraft crashed near the Mozambique-South Africa border.

She married her second husband, Nelson Mandela, in Johannesburg on 18 July 1998, Mandela's 80th birthday.  At the time, Mandela was serving as the first post-apartheid president of South Africa.  Mandela died of pneumonia on 5 December 2013. She is the only woman in modern history to have served as First Lady of two countries.

On 18 July 2007 in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel, and Desmond Tutu convened The Elders.  Mandela announced its formation in a speech on his 89th birthday. 

Machel has been particularly involved in The Elders' work on child marriage, including the founding of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.


Graça Machel is a member of the Africa Progress Panel (APP), a group of ten distinguished individuals who advocate at the highest levels for equitable and sustainable development in Africa.  As a panel member she facilitates coalition building and convenes decision-makers to influence policy for lasting change in Africa. 

was chancellor of the University of Cape Town between 1999 and 2019. Following her retirement from the Mozambique ministry, Machel was appointed as the expert in charge of producing the ground breaking United Nations report on the impact of armed conflict on children.  She served as the Chair of The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health from 2013-2018.


In January 2016, she was also appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the High-level Advisory Group for Every Woman Every Child.