Hot Oregon Summer Berlin’s Next

Gendarmenmarkt Berlin

It’s been a restful, contemplative spring and summer in Oregon working in my garden with the deer, wild turkeys, annoying yellow jackets, and a cute stray black cat. Sadly, with hot, dry weather, a record number of large wildfires are raging nearby.

Fire Tornado – zmescience.com

Large fires near the California / Oregon border have created dreaded “fire tornadoes“. These occur when a fire acquires “vertical vorticity (tendency to spin) and forms a whirl”. Fire tornadoes can “grow up to gargantuan sizes, more than half a kilometer, with winds of over 150 km/h”. Smoke from fires here in Oregon, neighboring California and Washington, and nearby Colorado and Canada create a surreal aura bringing poor air quality and vivid sunrises and sunsets.

Wildfire Sunset San Francisco Bay – Fstoppers

Wildfire Smoke at Sunrise – Jonathan Hayward

I’ve started getting into the specifics of my next extended travel adventure – a tedious but necessary exercise. This time I’ll try to make the long trip with one piece of luggage!

Embankment River Spree Monbijou Park

Like in 2017, I’ll begin in Europe and eventually make my way back to South Africa. Decided to start in Berlin and am looking for an apartment to rent for three months. This has been challenging, as landlords try to leverage their rentals, so looking too far in advance is frustrating – but waiting until the last-minute can be nerve-racking. I’ve studied the city boroughs, both East and West, and have a few leads in areas of interest – Mitte, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. Rents are reasonable, and the apartments look comfortable. A good location near attractions and transportation is essential.

Museum Island Spree River

South Africa

I’m somewhat apprehensive about the tension and violence in Africa – Lake Chad, Congo, Mali, Somalia, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Mali, Kenya, Uganda, et al. Although I’ve never experienced violence anywhere in Africa, four cities in South Africa – Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, and Johannesburg – are listed as some of the most dangerous on the continent. In my travels, I did not find that the case, and we clearly have our share of political tension, civil unrest, and violence in the US…

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Mitte is the oldest and most historic part of Berlin with many cultural attractions and “ever-expanding restaurant, club, and arts scenes”.

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Sandbar Mitte

South Africa’s drought and the government’s move toward land expropriation are a concern. More than two decades after the end of apartheid, land ownership remains a “highly emotive” subject for South Africans. According to the ANC, white people own 72 percent of private land, black people 4 percent, and other ethnic groups 24 percent.

Berlin Cathedral at Museum Island

Land expropriation is said to be “the most pressing social issue in the country”, but some believe that crime, corruption, and the “triple-time-bomb of poverty, unemployment, inequality” are the things that keep South Africans awake at night.

Unter Den Linden by Night – 123RF

My extended South African visa expires in 2020, and I haven’t decided whether to pursue the rigorous renewal process. The visa allowed me to make extended trips to explore and better understand South Africa. It’s a beautiful but complex and at times difficult country, where life is changing rapidly. I’ve enjoyed spending time there!

Staatsoper Wien Opera House

Berlin-Mitte

It’s been hot in Oregon this summer, so anticipating cooler temperatures appeals. When Berlin begins to get really cold, I’ll move south – not sure where yet. I’m pondering visits to completely new places versus returning to more familiar areas. Some new countries on the list include Romania and Albania, but Spain and Italy are also good options.

Brandenburg Gate

I’m looking for a small apartment in the Berlin-Mitte borough a central section of former East Berlin. “Before the war and division of the city, Mitte was, in fact, the center of Berlin and it has regained its former pre-eminence to such an extent that many visitors never visit the western side of the city.”

Strandbar and Bodemuseum Mitte

Mitte begins at Potsdamer Platz and the Brandenburg Gate on the east side of Tiergarten Park. The grand boulevard – Unter den Linden – starts at the Brandenburg Gate and extends east. It’s lined with 18th- and 19th-century palaces and monuments.

Komische Opera House

I’m excited to attend an opera in Berlin! The Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin’s main opera house, and the Komische Oper, the third largest, are both in Mitte. There’s a neoclassical square called Gendarmenmarkt just off Unter den Linden. Nearby Museumsinsel (Museum Island) is the site of five major museums, and Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral) is within walking distance.

No, I don’t speak German but am learning key phrases and pronunciation rules. During past experiences in Germany, English was spoken everywhere.

Berlin Districts

Später mehr…

Oregon Respite

Enjoying every moment of my quiet Oregon respite!

Plants in bloom, deer and squirrels everywhere, and the wild turkeys are in mating season (I think). Every time I see a spectacular tom strutting his stuff, I don’t have a camera… Their gobble is impressive and loud.

Wild Tom Turkey

I’m planning the next travel adventure but cherishing the sleepy, wonderful rest and tranquility of Oregon – to be followed by more exciting foreign destinations!

West Side Story Artscape Theatre

In March after popular demand, producer and human rights activist Eric Abraham and the Fugard Theatre’s production of West Side Story returned to the Artscape. The American musical has been performed in Cape Town before and audiences raved about the brilliant actors, singers, dancers, music, and sets!

Jerome Robbins – Choreographer

Grant van Stern – Choreographer

Artscape Theatre

Artscape is one of my favorite performing arts venues in Cape Town. The theatre opened in 1971 as the Nico Malan Theatre Centre. It was renamed in 2001 and now belongs to the Western Cape Government.

Officer Krupke and Detective Schrank

The spectacular opera house has an exciting ambiance, including gardens, rehearsal rooms, and a stylish foyer. Over the years, I’ve joined friends there for memorable opera, ballet, musical, and comedy performances! Last night’s brilliant performance didn’t disappoint!

Eric Abraham – Film, Television, Theatre Producer

Stephen Sondheim – Songwriter

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“West Side Story is a musical about cultural differences, racism, forbidden love, revenge, and death.”
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Arthur Laurents – Screenwriter

Plot

Inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story’s timeless plot is set on the “harsh streets of New York City’s Upper West Side in the 1950s”.

Rival street gangs, the Puerto Rican Sharks and Caucasian Jets, battle in a turf-war to gain control of the neighborhood. Tensions rise when Tony, a former member of the Jets and best friend of the leader, Riff, falls in love with Maria, the sister of Bernardo, leader of the rival Sharks.

Production

American choreographer Jerome Robbins conceived the story in 1957, and playwright and screenwriter Arthur Laurents wrote the West Side Story book. Renowned composer Leonard Bernstein created the musical score with lyrics written by songwriter Stephen Sondheim.

Michael Brenner – Producer

The 1961 film version of West Side Story “won 11 Academy Awards, including best picture, best supporting actor and actress, best director, and best cinematographer”. The film also won a Grammy for best soundtrack. It’s undoubtedly one of the best musicals ever written.

Louisa Talbot – Choreographer

South Africa’s Matthew Wild directs the Artscape production with Charl Johan Lingenfelder as musical director and conductor of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. Louisa Talbot choreographed the production with Grant van Ster as resident choreographer and dance captain.

Charl Johan Lingenfelder – Musical Director and Conductor

In 2018, West Side Story is once again “sweeping Capetonians off their feet”! How could it not with the fabulous Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra performing in the pit and an outstanding cast of forty exceptional performers?

Cast of Characters

Lynelle Kenned plays the role of Maria, a hopeless romantic who falls in love with Tony and finds herself at the center of a violent conflict between the Jets and Sharks. Kenned won the Fleur du Cap Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance. Among her many talents Kenned is a soprano opera singer with a marvelous voice!

The main character Tony – former Jets leader – is torn between his gang friends and love for Maria. The part is played by talented US actor Kevin Hack who has performed the role almost 400 times. Hack recently completed an international tour playing in the 60th anniversary international tour of German producer Michael Brenner’s production of West Side Story.

Matthew Wild – Director

Singer, pianist, violinist, dancer, and actress Bianca Le Grange plays Anita, Maria’s friend and Bernardo’s girlfriend. Daniel Mpilo Richards plays Bernardo, proud leader or the Sharks.

Leonard Bernstein – Composer and Conductor

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“The choreography exudes vibrant waves of emotion from act to act leaving its audience’s heart thumping!”

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Artscape Foyer

Artscape Theatre Centre Cape Town

Artscape Foyer Upper Level Lounge

Sculptures Artscape Entrance

The actors are multi-talented with impressive accomplishments and careers. The beautiful, strong dancers were magnificent!!! Main characters include:

  1. Lynelle Kenned – Maria, Bernardo’s sister in love with Tony
  2. Kevin Hack – Tony, former Jets leader in love with Maria
  3. Bianca Le Grange – Anita, Jet, Bernardo’s girlfriend, Maria’s friend
  4. Daniel Mpilo Richards – Bernardo, Shark leader, Maria’s brother, Anita’s boyfriend
  5. Stephen Jubber – Riff, quick-­tempered Jets leader
  6. Sven-Eric Muller – Diesel, Jets second-in-­command
  7. Craig Urbani – Schrank, police detective
  8. Richard Lothian – Officer Krupke, beat cop
  9. James Borthwick – Doc, owner of the store where the Jets hang out
  10. Clint Lesch – Chino, Jet, Maria’s suitor, and friend of Bernardo
  11. Logan Timbre – Action, quick-­‐tempered member of the Jets

West Side Story Artscape Willem Law Photographer

It was an interesting, eclectic crowd attending the performance – an evening of entertainment by extraordinarily talented young artists! Many more than mentioned here helped with production of the musical.

Cape Town International Jazz Festival

Next weekend Artscape hosts the 19th Cape Town International Jazz Festival. The exciting lineup includes Alistair Izobell, Amanda Black, GrazRoots Project, Blinky Bill, Claire Phillips, Miles Mosley, Nduduzo Makhathini, Mabuta, Louis Moholo, and many more outstanding artists!

In Bocca al Lupo

Actress and Artist Jemma Kahn

You never know what might happen at Cape Town’s Alexander Theatre – that’s the beauty of the place! The Mother City is rich in creativity, energy, and talented artists. Last night’s performance – In Bocca al Lupo – was a phenomenal one-woman show!

Jemma Kahn

Before last night, I hadn’t experienced the art of kamishibai – “a twelfth century Japanese form of storytelling where a storyteller’s tale is presented with the help of cardboard panel illustrations”.  In Bocca al Lupo was totally engrossing!

Jemma Kahn studied kamishibai under “veteran Japanese performer Roukda Genji, and the two performed throughout Japan”. In Bocca al Lupo is Jemma’s memoir – or maybe not. I didn’t know about her before last night’s performance, so the story that kept the audience engaged could have been her own, or perhaps it was fictional?

Alexander Bar, Café & Theatre

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“While kamishibai may be the device Kahn uses to portray her tales, it’s not the only thing that sets her apart as a master storyteller.”

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Jemma Kahn

To summarize simplistically, the memoir begins as the story of a young South African woman who feels like a failure living a boring life. She decides to spice things up and expand her world by embarking on a two-year adventure teaching English in Japan.

Alexander Theatre

Alexander Bar, Café & Theatre

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“Kahn has the charisma of an old Hollywood starlet. To be a member of her audience is to be in a state of enchantment for a full 80 minutes.” 

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Alexander Bar, Café & Theatre

Alexander Bar, Café & Theatre

After living in Japan for several months, Jemma experiences culture shock and ponders its four stages – honeymoon, frustration, adjustment, acceptance – ha ha ha. This is something I can relate to firsthand having traveled abroad extensively on my own!

Jemma Kahn

The romantic concept of living in a foreign country is often deceptive. Jemma does a masterful job of telling her (or someone’s) story of alienation as a foreigner in Japan – an unfamiliar country that in the end, was not for her.

Jemma Kahn

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“One’s travels can be rife with anxiety, loneliness, culture shock, and the depression that inevitably comes with isolation.”

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The Epicene Butcher

Using a series of four “beautifully drawn images displayed on cardboard story panels” Jemma meticulously connects with her audience, drawing them in and leaving them hanging on her every word and description! She adds humor to her stories, even though some of the subjects she discusses aren’t funny.

A multi-talented artist trained in fine art and drama, Kahn created many of the kamishibai panels she uses. Her talented award-winning crew are remarkable:

Jemma Kahn

In Bocca al Lupo (into the mouth of the wolf in Italian) follows two of Kahn’s other popular kamishibai shows:

Actress and Artist Jemma Kahn

The Epicene Butcher – described as stories that “seduce the sinless and astonish the immoral” toured internationally and was performed 400 times.

Jemma Kahn We Didn’t Come to Hell for the Croissants photo by Dean Hutton

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Jemma Kahn has “captivated audiences from Cape Town to Edinburgh to Amsterdam with her unique take on the 12th century Japanese art form Kamishibai”.

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Alexander Theatre

The phrase “in bocca al lupo” is an Italian idiom used in opera and theatre to wish a performer good luck before a performance. The standard response is “crepi il lupo” or, more commonly, simply “crepi” (may the wolf die). The Italian expression is similar to the English actor’s idiom “break a leg, reflecting a theatrical superstition in which wishing a person ‘good luck’ before a performance is considered bad luck”.

In Bocca Al Lupo Poster

There are several theories on how the Italian expression originated. For this show, “the phrase illustrates the leaps of faith Jemma took to create her third kamishibai play”.

Alexander Theatre Bar

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“The play follows Kahn on her journey to Japan and then Ireland, as she regales her audience with all the things we fail to mention when asked about our travels to another country.”

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Alexander Theatre

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of restoring broken ceramics using lacquer and gold dust to repair cracks, emphasizing and assigning value to the site of repair. In Bocca Al Lupo has a similar effect. Kahn, co-writer Tertius Kapp, and director Jane Taylor expertly curate her story by selecting the cracks as the focal points which form the narrative.”

Jemma Kahn

Although I often find memoirs boring, if In Bocca al Lupo really was one, it was a delightful, thoroughly enjoyed, and well-performer story – a must see in Cape Town!

Kirstenbosch and Claremont

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is one of the most peaceful, beautiful places on earth. It touches me every time I visit. Fog is back in the Cape, mysteriously draping itself over Table Mountain – yesterday was a great day to see the garden.

It’s hard to say which Kirstenbosch delight is best – fragrant gardens with pristine fynbos, forested areas, dramatic mountain views, gourmet restaurant, exotic birds, stone sculpting, or the gallery of South African artists. It’s a big dose of beautiful!!

James Yates – Namaqualand in Bloom

I visited the art gallery and especially liked the landscapes of James Yates. The current exhibition – Professional Cape Artists – features paintings, ceramics, and wooden sculpture of popular local masters. The exhibition is on display between 16th February and 11th March.

Cape Dutch Manor House

Dutch Colonial House

Southey Cottage Claremont

Cape Dutch Manor House

Cape Dutch Manor House

Other favorite artists include Bill McGill, Mieke Teijema, Lionel Smit, and Tony Butler. It was too much trying to sort names with each piece. I took the curator’s card.

James Yates

I hiked a close-in trail, had lunch, and enjoyed the spectacular stone sculptures perfectly placed throughout the grounds. Families were relaxing and picnicking on a lush carpet of grass.

Bill McGill

Kirstenbosch’s water shortage isn’t as dire as Cape Town’s. Its irrigation flows from a different source – surface runoff and streams in Window Gorge and Nursery Ravine.

Gorges, Buttresses, Ravines Table Mt.

Nelson Mandela by Tony Butler

Chemicals aren’t used in Kirstenbosch’s drinking water. It’s “extracted from boreholes that tap deep into the Table Mountain Aquifer 200 ft. below ground level”. The drinking water from the aquifer is of “such high quality it could be bottled”!

Everyone is taking the drought very seriously. It was nice drinking fresh spring water, washing my hands, and flushing the toilet without feeling guilty. Most public toilets in Cape Town have hand sanitizer dispensers. Sink water is turned off.

James Yates

James Yates

James Yates

This trip I’m exploring Claremont – a leafy suburban neighborhood 6 miles south of Cape Town. Although nothing beats the energy and excitement of Cape Town, I wanted to experience  a new area.

Lionel Smit

My B&B is between Claremont and Rondebosch, both are growing suburban areas surrounded by spectacular natural beauty and Cape Dutch architecture. The University of Cape Town is nearby. It’s quite a change from the daily city chaos in Maputo!

Mozambique’s Ethnic Groups

Swahili Women

I recently wrote a blog post about Barrio Mafalala, a Maputo neighborhood of “zinc, wooden houses, and unpaved streets”. Mafalala emerged in the 20th century and has great historical importance – before and after Mozambique gained independence.

Makonde Mask

Mafalala’s population consists of immigrants from all over Mozambique. Within the dense, diverse barrio, each group maintains a distinct “neighborhood” identity. The neighborhoods represent the:

Ndau Mask

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Local languages are the standard, meaning that “not everyone within the country can communicate with each other”.

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“Most Mozambicans belong to the Bantu ethnolinguistic family indigenous to Southern and Central Africa. This ethnic family “makes up the majority of Africa’s population south of the Sahara“.

Lomwe Women

Historically, Mozambique experienced eras of Bantu, Swahili, and Portuguese rule. Portugal was the first European power to colonize the African continent. The Portuguese ruled Mozambique from 1498 to 1974. In Mozambique, colonization clearly didn’t unite the indigenous people.

Ndau Sculpture by Zechariah Njobo

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Mozambique’s fight for independence followed by a long civil war resulted in ethnic groups identifying within themselves, not as part of a united country.

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Ngoni Girls

Even though Portuguese is Mozambique’s official language, it’s only spoken by about a quarter of the population, often as a second language. Mozambique’s language differences combined with poor transportation between regions helped create limited communication and a lack of national identity within the country.

Yao Wood Carvings

Mozambique’s primary ethnic groups include:

  1. Makua / Lomwe
  2. Tsonga / Shangaan
  3. Makonde
  4. Shona
  5. Sena
  6. Ndau
  7. Yao
  8. Swahili
  9. Chopi
  10. Ngoni
  11. European / Mestiço
  12. South Asian – Indian and Chinese

Ndau Dancers

Makua

The Makua are the largest ethnic group in Mozambique. They’re dominant in northern Mozambique, southern Tanzania, and the Republic of the Congo. There are “various dialects among the Makua, all traceable to one language spoken over 1,000 years ago”. Many Makua speak Portuguese.

Makonde Woman with Face Painting

Lomwe

The Lomwe and Makua are related. Together they make up almost forty percent of Mozambique’s population. The Lomwe practice a form of “body modification called scarification”, where they “scar symbolic designs into their bodies”. The Lomwe’s ancient practice of scarification is dying out in Mozambique but gaining popularity in the modern world of body art in the U.S. and other countries.

Shangaan Girls

Tsonga (Shangaan)

Tsonga live mainly in southern Mozambique. They’re a “sister tribe to the Shangaan people who live in South Africa’s Northern Provinces”.

Makonde Mask

Traditionally the Tsonga are farmers. Their culture and economy focus on “pastoralism and mixed agriculture” with cassava as the main crop. Polygamy is prevalent in Tsonga culture, and the ruling king holds absolute authority over his people.

Tsonga Dancers

Shangaan developed from a mixture of Bantu-speaking people, including Nguni, Shona, and Chopi. Some came to Mozambique after fleeing notoriously brutal Zulu massacres led by King Shaka.

Chopi Tribeswomen Dancing

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Swahili dealt mainly in African ivory, gold, slaves, and Asian cloth and beads.

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Chopi Woman with Baby

Makonde

The Makonde in Mozambique and Tanzania are related but separated physically by the Ruvuma River and cultural and language differences.

Makua Woman Wearing Musiiro Face Mask

They have a matrilineal society where women control the children and inheritances. Men move into women’s villages and homes. The Makonde are master carvers and sell their carvings throughout East Africa.

Ndau Rights of Passage Ceremony

Shona

Most Shona live in Zimbabwe, but some make their home in Mozambique’s Zambezi Valley, South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia. Over a thousand years ago, Shona ancestors built “great stone cities in Africa”.

Shona Women

Sena

According to calculations, there are almost two million Sena in Mozambique’s Zambezi Valley. Some believe the “Sena have Jewish ancestry and descended from one of the sons of the biblical Jacob”.

Ndau Sculpture by Zechariah Njobo

Sena resisted Portuguese Colonialism and played an active role in Mozambique’s independence movement. They’re farmers who keep cattle, goats, sheep, and pigs and grow cotton, maize, mangoes, and sugar cane. They’re skilled musicians and practice “Kulowa Kufa where women marry another man or brother of a deceased husband”.

Mozambican Children

Ndau

The Ndau of Mozambique live mainly in the Zambezi Valley, but spread all the way to the coast and Zimbabwe. The Ndau are excellent herbalists.

Yao Villagers

Story telling plays a big role in Ndau life, including folktales and stories told through ceramic sculpture images. Zechariah Njobo is a popular Ndau sculptor from Zimbabwe known for his carvings of animal-like birds, owls, and elephants.

Ngoni Dancers

Yao

The Yao people in Mozambique live in small villages between the Ruvuma and Lugenda Rivers. A “head man, chosen through matrilineal succession, leads each village”. The Yao maintain an agricultural society, “using slash-and-burn techniques for growing their staple crops – maize and sorghum”.

Zechariah Njobo, Ndau Sculptor

The Yao have lived in the northwestern Mozambique’s Niassa Province for hundreds of years. When Arabs first arrived in Africa, they traded with the Yao in exchange for clothes and guns. Their involvement in trade made them one of the richest and most influential groups in Southern Africa.

Chopi Woman

Swahili

The Swahili people are more numerous in Kenya, Tanzania, and the Zanzibar Archipelago, but some live in northern Mozambique. They speak Swahili, follow Islam, and wear traditional Islamic dress.

Yao Women

Unlike most Africans who are rural farmers with their own indigenous religions, Swahili are also urban dwellers with a literate Muslim civilization. Swahili merchants live in elaborately designed and furnished houses. Unlike merchants, Swahili farmers and fishermen live in coastal villages where they build towns around a central mosque attended by the men (women are not allowed to enter mosques).

Ndau Sculpture by Zechariah Njobo

For centuries, the Swahili People were merchants in the ancient commerce between the interior of Africa and the countries of the Indian Ocean. Swahili identity is unique, but not always the same. The Swahili have “never formed a single ‘polity’ but are a cluster of groups each with its own occupation, way of life, and ranked position”. These Swahili groups include descendants of the original merchants:

Chopi Women

Chopi

The Chopi of Mozambique are related to the Tonga. Their symbol is the elephant. Traditionally they lived in the southern Zavala district in Inhambane Province. Mozambique’s civil war and droughts greatly reduced the number of Chopi. Many moved to cities far away from their family and homelands.

Ndau Midwives with Herbs

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UNESCO describes Chopi music as a “masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity”.

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Chopi were part of the Sofala and Gaza Empire founded by the Nguni traditional ruler Chief Nxamba. Mbila and timbila (plural of mbila) are musical instruments similar to large xylophones. They’re traditional Chopi instruments that have flourished in Africa. The sound they produce is a combination of xylophone, horns, rattles, and flute. These musical instruments are an iconic symbol representing all of Mozambique.

Praia do Tofo Mozambique

In August an annual Timbila festival takes place in the Zavala District’s beach town of Tofo, a UNESCO world heritage site. The festival is “supported by the Gil Vicente live music venue and the One Ocean New Year’s Music festival “. The festival opens and closes with the region’s traditional music.

Ndau Sculpture by Zachariah Njobo

Ngoni

The Ngoni can be traced back to South Africa’s Zulus who moved north following social reorganization in their home region. They practice an ethnic religion deeply rooted in their identity, including superstitions, ancestor worship, and witchcraft.

Map Zambezi River Basin

European, European-Descendant, Mestiço Population

The European and European-descendant population of Mozambique is a big “part of the country’s demographics”. Portugal left a strong colonial legacy in Mozambique, and Portuguese is the official language. Many British and Portuguese left the country after Mozambique gained independence in 1975, but a small number remained, along with a larger mestiço population of mixed African and Portuguese heritage.

Mbila

Mbila

Timbila Musical Instrument

Timbila

South Asian – Indian and Chinese

India’s links with Mozambique go back “over half a millennium”. Indian Muslim traders from Malabar “plied the Indian Ocean trade routes”. Vasco da Gama found Hindu traders in Mozambique during his first visit in 1499. The Portuguese were the first to engage in the transatlantic slave trade in the 16th century. By the 1800s, Indian merchants cooperating with Portuguese shippers became active in the slave trade.

Africans of Asian Ethnicity

African Girl of Macau Ethnicity

Chinese people began settling in Mozambique in the 1870s. Portuguese colonialists went to China and “recruited Chinese carpenters and unskilled laborers in Macao to work on railway construction”. Asian migration “halted in 1899 due to an outbreak of plague, blamed on Indians”. Many Asians started as carpenters but moved into shopkeeping. They established community associations and educated their children in Chinese-language schools.

Chinese Mozambicans

Tribalism in Africa

Tribalism in Africa is a heady subject – at least for me. I’ve traveled throughout the African continent for many years. During each trip I learn more about the countries, their history, strengths, contributions, and economic / social issues. Tribalism is something I’ve just started learning about. It’s a fascinating subject, especially in Mozambique – a unique, complex, and enthralling country!

Tonga Girls

Back to Cape Town

I’m happy to be returning to Cape Town tomorrow! In Africa, it’s the closest thing to home for me, and there will be people to visit and interesting things to do.

Map of Mozambique

Inhaca Island Mozambique

Vilanculos Island Vogue Magazine

I’ve spent most of my time in Mozambique exploring Maputo, a busy, interesting African city. After touring isolated Seychelles, Durban, and South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal beaches, it was fun to be in a large, vibrant city again. There’s lots of history and culture in Maputo, and the diverse population is fascinating. I’ve enjoyed my time here, and after a month gained an understanding of Mozambique’s history, culture, and people.

Maputo Highrises

People come to Mozambique to visit its islands and archipelagos – Bazaruto and Quirimbas – known for their coral reefs and marine life. Since I’m leaving Mozambique this week, I decided to take a day tour of Inhaca Island, about 20 miles from Maputo.

Fishing Boats Near Maputo-Catembe Bridge

Maputo Yachting

Getting to Inhaca can be complicated. There are three ways to do it – ferry, plane, or boat, and all three are subject to cancellation, depending on the weather. The flight takes 15 minutes, the ferry (if it’s running that day) takes several hours. Boat options range from small crowded refugee-like vessels to wooden dhows and luxury yachts.

Catamaran Umoja

I decided to go with Maputo Yachting’s comfortable catamaran. The day trip was reasonably priced, and I only had to get to Porto de Pesca with a swim suit, hat, and sunscreen – no connections, transfers, or other complications.

Porto de Pesca Maputo

Day Trip Catamaran Umoja 

The day didn’t disappoint! Catamaran Umoja (meaning unity in Swahili) was fantastic, and the interesting people onboard were easy to talk with and fun. Although slightly overcast, the day was pleasant. A day of full-on sun would have been uncomfortable.

Sailing Group

Relaxing…

Pondering the Sea

Sailing Group

The European Captain – Wilhelm – was from Norway. Two of his friends – Norwegian and Dutch – joined the outing and helped with various tasks. In addition to the captain and his friends, there were two other crew members.

Portuguese Island

It was a fast-moving day. Passengers included three young Mozambican women – twin sisters with a friend, German, Portuguese, and Belgian couples, and me. Except for the Germans, everyone was living in Maputo.  The group was great company, and if I weren’t leaving Maputo in a few days, I would enjoy spending more time with them.

Portuguese Island

One woman is an artist collaborating with a local Mozambican sculptor – Lorenzo – to create a relief-like mural. Her husband works with African non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and had been on a project in Ethiopia, where they lived for several years. They talked about Ethiopian life and politics.

Dune Portuguese Island

Ethiopia is in political turmoil. The government imposed a six-month “state of emergency” after prolonged anti-government protests and the resignation of the Prime Minister. Ongoing demonstrations prompted the release of political prisoners and have raised serious concerns about Ethiopia’s stability.

Boats Portuguese Island

After listening to Europeans living in Maputo, I’ve learned that many have traveled extensively throughout the continent and accept Africa’s abundant difficulties and inequities. Despite often-disturbing realities, they do what they can to make a positive difference and enjoy the excitement and unknowns that come with living in Africa. It surprised me to hear Norwegians talk about the “boredom” of living in their country, rated as one of the most desirable places in the world.

Inhaca Heron

Pink-Backed Pelicans

A Dutch member of the group was married to a lovely African woman, and they have several children. A creative director, he told me about some of the successful performances he’s directed.

Mozambican Woman Wrapped in a Capulana

People I’ve met in Maputo were regular visitors to Mali. They’re sad the country is no longer safe for travelers. Al-Qaeda and armed Islamist groups have taken control of parts of the country “imposing Sharia (Islamic law) by threatening villagers, recruiting children, destroying schools, and beating villagers who engage in forbidden practices”.

Umoja Mast

The conversations were interesting, and I was glad to meet other people who share my fascination with Africa – but I’m digressing, so let’s go back to the boat trip…. As the wind picked up, we hoisted a sail and glided to our first stop, Portuguese Island (Inhaca).

Portuguese Island

Uninhabited Portuguese Island is less than 2 hours sail from Maputo at the end of Maputo Bay. At one time, the desert island was a leper colony. Now, it’s part of the Inhaca Marine Reserve. The narrow island is 4 miles long with low vegetation.

Sue Approaching Portuguese Island

My hat blew off on the boat and is now somewhere beneath the sea, so instead of hiking with little sun protection, I opted to swim. The boat didn’t have equipment, so there was no snorkeling – never forget to ask enough questions in Maputo!

Pemba Woman

There’s a kiosk on the beach for cruise ship guests. Although a ship anchored nearby, few people came ashore, and there were no beach umbrellas or chairs. I talked to local vendors and almost bought another capulana (sarong), but came to my senses after thinking about an already bulging suitcase. I bought the only hat available – a baseball cap locally made with colorful Mozambican fabric – not much sun protection, but a fabulous memento.

Dugong

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

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 Mozambique’s archipelagos are home to the only viable population of dugongs on Africa’s east coast.

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Santa Maria Island

Bazaruto Archipelago

Bazaruto Archipelago

Swimming in the Indian Ocean is heaven, and we watched small pods of dolphins who came near us playing close to shore. I swam back to the boat, but others took the dingy.

Dhow Mozambique Channel

We enjoyed lunch aboard Umoja, including the best bruschetta I’ve eaten prepared by Michael, a chef and friend of the captain. The meal was a delicious curry served with salad and rice.

Island Scene Mozambique

Quirimbas Archipelago Sailing

Inhaca Island

After lunch we continued to Inhaca – pronounced “In-ya-ca”. Populated by locals, the island has a few rustic restaurants and pristine forest and wildlife areas. I noticed several large, interesting birds but couldn’t get good photos. White herons with gangling long legs and necks were all over the trees. After months of travel, I’m burnt out on photos and have used some media shots in this post.

Lodge Inhaca Island

We walked the island, enjoyed craft displays, and stopped for a cold drink at a pub. Much to my dismay, during our hike a huge sea-bird flying overhead pooped on me ; ( ! My companions assured me it was a sign of good luck – not sure about that…

Quirimbas Archipelago

Inhaca Island is popular for water sports. Locals and tourists enjoy diving, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, parasailing, windsurfing, and fishing. If you don’t have your own equipment, it’s difficult finding rentals. We didn’t explore the “wilder side” of Inhaca, a popular dive site known for “crashing surf and deep blue sea”.

Pangane Beach Cabo Delgado, Ricardo Miguel

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Bazaruto Archipelago National Park was established to protect habitats and marine fauna.

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Mozambique Channel

Warm water currents in Mozambique Channel between Africa and Madagascar, encourage diverse marine life, including sea turtles, dolphins, endangered dugongs, manta rays, and whales. I’ve heard that dive sites on Santa Maria Reef include mesmerizing underwater caves and shipwrecks.

Inhaca Island Dive Map

Deep-water habitats in the Channel include mangroves, coral reefs, sandy beach, rocky shorelines, and sea grass beds. Five different types of threatened marine turtles nest along the Chanel, where they’ve remained safe and protected for years.

Inhaca Island

Bazaruto Archipelago

Vilanculos District is the gateway to Bazaruto Archipelago – a chain of four islands, Bazaruto, Benguerra, Santa Isobel, and Santa CarolinaBazaruto Archipelago National Park (BANP) protects the area’s marine life.

Bazaruto Archipelago

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The Vahoka people occupy Bazaruto Archipelago’s islands. Vahoka speak their mother tongue, Chihoca, and live in seven villages throughout the islands.

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Inhaca Island Tree

These are the seasons on the archipelago:

  • December to March – hot, humid, rain, cyclones
  • September to November – dry days, cool nights
  • June to August – fresh, dry, clear days, cool nights
  • April to May – dry, clear skies, no rain

Ibo Island Quirimbas Archipelago

Quirimbas Archipelago

The Port of Pemba in northern Mozambique is the access point for Quirimbas Archipelago with 12 islands and 20 coralline outcrops. Pemba is the capital of Cabo Delgado Province. There are remote lodges on the archipelago, but getting to them is costly and difficult. Local tour operators are more than willing to handle the logistics and plan pricey all-inclusive luxury holidays.

Sand Bank Rescue

Pemba’s coral reefs are near the shore and “protrude into the Bay of Pemba.” It’s the starting point for Quirimbas National Park which is inhabited by endangered dolphins, whales, and dugongs. I would love to spend time exploring Quirimbas, but it’s beyond my budget as a solo traveler!

Sand Bank Rescue

Trip Back and Sand Bank Rescue

I wanted to keep swimming, but the others thought we should go back. We said goodbye to Inhaca and headed back to Maputo. Tropical storms develop quickly, and thunderstorms with lightning, wind, and heavy rain were on the way.

Inhaca Island Beach

As if our day hadn’t been indulgent enough, pastries were waiting for us on the boat! Some in the group sang their humorous versions of African and German songs. The only song left uncovered was Whiskey Leave Me Alone! The warm sun and swaying catamaran made us feel sleepy, and several fell asleep on the deck.

Evening Sky1

Scarlet Evening Sky

Maputo Evening Sky

About an hour into the trip back, the captain received a distress call from a boat stuck in a sand bank closer to Maputo. The passengers – 80 Mozambicans on a “drinks included” trip – were celebrating a birthday and partying all day. With everyone’s agreement, the captain proceeded to their rescue.

Maputo City Lights

Getting stuck in a sand bank isn’t unusual in Maputo Bay. When it happens, boats have to wait until the tide rises to get free, and this can involve as long as a six-hour wait! Sharing Umoja with the boisterous group was fun but certainly a roust from our peaceful sail. We partied with them – they brought their own bass-heavy music – and made it back to the port at about 7:30 pm.

Tanker at Night

Our late arrival provided an unexpected surprise – beautiful views of Maputo city lights along the skyline! Clouds hid the sunset, but vivid scarlet pink streamed across the city skyline – a perfect ending to an idyllic day!