Food & Daily life

A rural pace of life...

With over 1.6 million people, Maputo is a large and bustling capital. Because it lies close to South Africa, the city acts as the main centre for industry and business. However, other key cities – such as Beira, Nacala, Quelimane and Tete – have grown important as port, transportation or mining centres.

Farming in MozambiqueThough some Mozambicans have migrated to towns and cities, four-fifths of people still live in rural areas. Most rely on small-scale or subsistence farming and life follows the seasonal patterns of rains, sowing and harvest.

Farm plots are called ‘machambas’. These smallholdings can lie some distance from large settlements, particularly in the north. For houses, modern building materials are increasingly used. But rural dwellings are also made traditionally with mud and wattle walls and thatch roofs.

Traditional boats

Many fishermen go out in small boats or dhows. These are made without nails, using pegs and tightly-fitted wood. The boats are waterproofed with natural gum or resin.

Fishing continues to be practised using traditional methods, either from the many small ports along Mozambique’s coastline or on the country’s rivers and lakes. Though some commercial fishing takes place, especially for Mozambique’s key export of prawns, traditional fishing accounts for around 85% of domestic catches.

...and sometimes a slow one

A girl cooking, outside a hutIn Mozambique, as in many hot African countries, patience is often required when waiting for things to happen. Perhaps this is because of the tropical temperatures which can demand a slower pace.

But Mozambicans are hard-workers. With high rates of poverty across the country, life is a constant struggle for many. People need determination and grit to make ends meet.

Local food

Served with sauce

Matapa is a common sauce. This is made from cassava leaves or other greens, ground peanuts or coconut, and sometimes with shrimps.

The staple food for many Mozambicans is ncima, a thick porridge made from maize/corn flour. Cassava and rice are also eaten as staple carbohydrates. All of these are served with sauces of vegetables, meat, beans or fish.

Chicken is also a favourite meat, served grilled or with seasonings and spices such as piri-piri, a chilli sauce.

A number of successful national beer brands are enjoyed by Mozambicans. Local brews (pombe) are also popular. These are made from maize, sugar cane, mangos, cassavas and cashew fruits. Palm wine (sura) is also popular in southern areas. Soft drinks tend to be globally recognised choices such as Coca Cola.