Customs and traditions
In Mozambique, much of one's reputation is
decided on how to handle social situations, but although
there is much to adapt to, Mozambicans are generally
open and easy going. The food is often traditional and
varies widely locally. The national symbols have been
dictated by the ruling party, and are highly
How to greet
Health often takes a long time and includes questions
about how the respective families are feeling. Handling
is common. But people can also say hello and say goodbye
with kisses on the cheeks, but not men in between. Men
nod or shake hands. If they know each other well they
can give a hug or pat on the shoulder.
Overview of the capital city of Mozambique, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
It is important to be properly presented. At the
first meeting, the host or colleague is formally
presented by name. In workplaces people can pretend that
they have not seen one until they have been formally
presented. When meeting superiors, it is important that
the presentation is done in the right way and in the
Although everyone is expected to come to work on
time, people are often late. You may also be absent from
work due to illness, family responsibilities or
funerals, which are common due to the AIDS epidemic.
When talking to someone you should keep arm's length,
but Mozambique does not require as much space as
Europeans. You do not have to have eye contact, and
whether or not you touch each other depends on the
relationship you have. Colleagues should not be touched
when talking to them, but with friends it goes well. Two
men or two women can walk and hold each other's hands.
It is not common for women and men to touch each other
unless they have a close relationship.
Mozambican people usually have a lot of humor and
like jokes and anecdotes. They like to talk with
gestures, and it is okay to point to others when talking
to. A manager may look an employee in the eye, but the
employee may look down with respect. The same thing
often happens between older and younger people, or when
a man is talking to a woman - the woman is looking down
into the ground.
At work, you speak first. Politics should not be
talked about the first time, and do not ask where anyone
came from or where they lived during the war, as it is
tense between north and south (see below). Instead, you
can start talking about prices in the market, the
weather or the food. When the relationship has
developed, you can ask about health, family and the
Managers have a lot of prestige and one should not
oppose their decisions, especially not others. As a
newcomer to the country, one should be careful.
Relationships that may appear uncomplicated on the
surface can be very complex in themselves.
It is not part of the culture to have personal
relationships at work, but it is important to show
kindness, for example, to ask how colleagues' families
are doing. It is not common for men and women to be
friends. Such relationships are expected to lead to more
You can show affection in public, but it is more
common in cities than in rural areas. Couples do not
like to kiss each other openly, but among young people
Cassava and corn are basic foods for rural people.
Cassava can be baked, dried in the sun or mashed with
water to a kind of porridge. The most common is to grind
the cassava roots together with corn and mix with
cassava leaves and water into a dough, which is served
A popular dish is food monkey. Leaves from cassava or
pumpkin are mixed with a stew of coconut milk and
crushed peanuts and seasoned with fresh or dried shrimp,
crabs or small fish. It is served with rice or xima, a
thick corn porridge. In the province of Zambezi you eat
mucuane, which is similar to mata monkeys but is drier
and mixed with green papaya.
Along the coast, the food is more varied than inland.
Fruit and rice are common as are fish, such as salted
and dried cod and grilled seafood. Palm wine, shena, is
a popular drink.
At feasts, parties and religious rites, meals are
part of the celebration. The vast majority of poor
people usually eat the same food at a party as usual.
In the cities, the men wear western costumes and the
women wear dresses with colorful African patterns. In
the office it is important to be clean and neatly
In the countryside, the traditional long shirt has
largely been replaced with t-shirt and dashiki, a
colorfully patterned shirt that reaches down to the
thighs. The women have usually retained the traditional
long piece of fabric wrapped around the body, under the
arms and over a shoulder. They have also retained the
shawl or turban. Most young people wear western clothes.
Upholstery can mark ethnic and religious identity.
Muslims in the north wear traditional long robes and
headgear. Asian men wear two-piece white cotton
clothing, while Asian women wear black or colored silk
Holidays and national symbol
Important holidays are New Year's Day, Heroes' Day
(February 3), Women's Day (April 7), Independence Day
(June 25), Anniversary of the War of Independence
(September 7), and Christmas Day or Family Day (December
The country's flag has three horizontal bands - one
green, one black and one yellow. On the left edge of the
straps is a red triangle with a yellow five-pointed
star, a book, a hack and a Kalashnikov rifle, making it
the only national flag in the world containing a
firearm. The flag is based on the Frelimos banner of the
liberation movement, and the opposition within Renamo
wants to introduce a more politically neutral national
The infrastructure in Mozambique was built
for colonial conditions. The transport routes go from
coastal countries to the Mozambican ports. Too few
resources have previously been placed on north-south
links within the country. Nowadays, however, major
investments are being made in the development, among
other things with the help of assistance.
In 2009, a bridge across the Zambezi River was
opened. The bridge, which had been under construction
for more than three decades, greatly facilitated
communications between southern and northern Mozambique.
The project was mainly paid for with foreign aid. In
2010, a bridge was also opened across the Rovuma River
between Mozambique and Tanzania. The bridge was built by
Chinese companies and is expected to have a significant
impact on trade and tourism in the region.
The economically important railway from the
coalfields in the west to the port of Beira was
destroyed in the Civil War (c. 1980-1994). The upgrading
of the railway has taken off at the time, but was
completed in 2013. A 900 kilometer long railway from the
coal district in the northwest through Malawi to the
port of Nacala in the north was expected to be completed
A number of countries use the ports of Maputo, Beira
and Nacala for freight services, and the same applies to
the railways from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and
Malawi. The ports and railways have been important
sources of income ever since the colonial period.
Maputo's port is one of Africa's largest and was
privatized in 2003. Since the turn of the millennium,
major port investments have been made, and the country
hopes that the deep port of Nacala will become South
Africa's largest transhipment terminal.
The road network covers about 3000 km, of which about
700 km are paved. The roads are in poor condition,
especially in northern Mozambique. Extensive upgrading
has taken place since the turn of the millennium with
the help of aid. The construction of a highway
connecting the northern parts of the country with the
south was completed by the middle of the 2010s.
Mozambique has about 20 airports; in eight of them
there is foreign traffic. The state-owned airline LAM
flies directly to Lisbon, otherwise international
flights are mainly via South Africa. Extensive
renovation of the airports in Maputo, Pemba, Nacala-Porto
and Tete began a few years into the 2010s.
The mobile phone network is still underdeveloped and
mobile phones are used to a much lower degree than in
many other parts of Africa.
Twelve Renamo supporters killed
Protests against alleged cheating in a parliamentary election end in violent
clashes with police in Cabo Delgado Province in the northeast. Twelve Renamo
supporters are killed in the riots.