Mozambique was governed by Portugal, and the two countries share a primary language (Portuguese) and a primary religion (Roman Catholicism). However, since the majority of Mozambicans are Bantus, the majority of the culture is indigenous; among Bantus residing in urban areas, there is considerable Portuguese influence. Mozambican culture has an impact on Portuguese culture as well. Mozambican cuisine, music, movies (by RTP frica), and customs are now ingrained in Portuguese culture.
The Makonde are well-known for their wood carving and ornate masks (seen above), which are often utilized in traditional dances. Shetani (bad spirits), which are usually carved in thick ebony and are tall and gracefully curved with symbols and nonrepresentational features; and ujamaa, which are totem-type sculptures that depict realistic faces of people and other figures. Because they recount the tales of many generations, these sculptures are often referred to as “family trees.”
During the final years of the colonial era, Mozambican art mirrored the colonial power’s oppression and became a symbol of resistance. After the country’s independence in 1975, contemporary art entered a new era. Malangatana Ngwenya, a painter, and Alberto Chissano, a sculptor, are two of the most well-known and important modern Mozambican artists. During the 1980s and 1990s, much of the post-independence art reflected political strife, civil war, misery, hunger, and struggle.
Mozambique’s dances are often complex, highly developed customs. There are many distinct types of dances from tribe to tribe, most of them are ceremonial in nature. The Chopi, for example, perform fights while clothed in animal skins. Makua’s men dress up in colorful costumes and masks and dance on stilts throughout the town for hours. To commemorate Islamic festivals, groups of women in the country’s north conduct a traditional dance known as tufo.
The Portuguese have had a significant influence on Mozambique’s cuisine due to their almost 500-year stay in the nation. The Portuguese introduced staples and crops such as cassava (a starchy root of Brazilian origin), cashew nuts (also of Brazilian origin, but Mozambique was once the biggest producer of these nuts), and pozinho (Portuguese-style French buns). The Portuguese brought spices and condiments such as bay leaves, chili peppers, fresh coriander, garlic, onions, paprika, red sweet peppers, and wine, as well as maize, millet, potatoes, rice, sorghum (a kind of grass), and sugarcane. ‘ Portuguese foods popular in modern-day Mozambique include espetada (kebab), inteiro com piripiri (whole chicken in piri-piri sauce), prego (steak roll), pudim (pudding), and rissóis (battered shrimp).
The government has a strong impact on the media in Mozambique.
Due to high newspaper costs and low literacy rates, newspapers have relatively low circulation rates.
State-controlled dailies such as Noticias and Diário de Moçambique, as well as the weekly Domingo, are among the most widely distributed publications. Their distribution is mostly limited to Maputo. The majority of financing and advertising income goes to pro-government publications. However, the number of private publications publishing critical views of the government has grown dramatically in recent years.
Because of their ease of availability, radio programs are the most influential type of media in the nation.
State-run radio stations have a larger audience than privately held media. This is illustrated by the most popular radio station in the nation, Rádio Moçambique, which is owned by the government. It was founded soon after Mozambique’s independence.
Mozambicans watch STV, TIM, and TVM Televiso Moçambique on television. Viewers may receive dozens of additional African, Asian, Brazilian, and European networks through cable and satellite.
Mozambique’s music serves a variety of functions, ranging from religious expression to traditional rituals. Musical instruments are often handcrafted. Drums constructed of wood and animal skin are employed in Mozambican musical expression, as is the lupembe, a woodwind instrument made of animal horns or wood, and the marimba, a kind of xylophone unique to Mozambique and other areas of Africa. The marimba is a favorite instrument among the Chopi of the south central coast, who are known for their musical ability and dancing.
Mozambique’s music has been compared to reggae and West Indian calypso. Other kinds of music are popular in Mozambique, such as marrabenta and other Lusophone music forms such as fado, bossa nova, and maxixe (with origins from kizomba, Maxixe, and samba).