Mozambique is a beautiful, tropical country located in southeastern Africa. Its shores have dazzling white sands and jewel-blue oceans. Hills gently slope throughout most of the country, rising into high central plains and northern mountains. Mozambique’s fertile soil is lush with abundant agriculture and fauna irrigated by the Zambezi river that winds through its midsection. This country is home to 2.5 million people and is positioned between mainland Africa and Madagascar.
Portuguese is Mozambique’s official language, but indigenous languages are widely spoken as well. Mozambique is home to some of Africa’s most prolific writers and artists. Popular Mozambican music blends African and Western influences. Some well known artists include Alexandre Langa, Xidimingwana, and the musical group Eyuphuro. A major style of music in Mozambique is called marrabenta which emerged in the 1950s. Marrabenta highlights the guitar and developed during the colonial period as a method of criticizing the government in a non-threatening, musical form. Another popular style is the Portuguese fado. This style features mournful ballads often sung by women. Mozambique’s most popular traditional music is a xylophone orchestral ensemble developed by the Chopi people.
The Zambezi River provides plentiful water for drinking, irrigation and agriculture in Mozambique. The river is the basis for the country’s hydroelectric power industry. However, Mozambique has suffered a turbulent recent history and is extremely poor. While under colonial rule, it was drained of its agricultural and mineral products with little to no return. Following Mozambique’s independence in 1975, it was wracked by internal conflict as opposing forces struggled for control. Countless acts of warfare and terror resulted in widespread famine and disease. The environment was neglected during this prolonged civil war. Up to 3 million unexploded landmines are thought to still be buried throughout the country. Civilians and large animals such as elephants are often injured or killed by triggered mines.
After gaining independence from Portugal in 1975, Mozambique suffered a 16-year civil war. Tensions still remain between the former rebel Renamo movement and the current Frelimo ruling party and corruption is widespread. The country’s president is Filipe Nyusi, a member of the Frelimo party. President Nyusi has pledged to transform Mozambique’s economy–which is currently one of the poorest in Africa.
The most popular entertainment medium in Mozambique is television. However, the state-run TVM network is the only national television network. Antena Nacional, a state-run radio station, is a key source of information and news in Mozambique. Most towns also have operating private FM stations. In fact, the government funds dozens of community radio and TV stations. Audio/video mediums far surpass written mediums in funding and popularity due to the country’s high level of illiteracy. Media freedom is constitutionally protected, but criminal libel laws discourage total freedom of expression.