Some insights about the Republic of Mozambique

Map of MozambiqueLetter sent by Maurice Odhiambo, second year stagiaire in Dombe.
Part of Southern Africa, Mozambique is bordering the Indian Ocean and is located south of Tanzania while surrounding the southern part of Malawi and contiguous to Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Swaziland. A population of over twenty million inhabitants share 800km² of land. Most people are of Bantu origin with a significant presence of Asians and Europeans. Having been a Portuguese colony, the official language is Portuguese which is widely spoken in towns whereas in villages the natives speak their local language.
Mozambique is composed of ten provinces. Each one has its capital referred to as “centre of administration”. With about two million residents, the heart of the economic activities is concentrated in the capital Maputo situated in the very southern part of the Republic far away from the rest of the country. Other main cities are Beira, Nampula, Nacala and Quelimane.
Around 70% of Mozambicans are peasants who cultivate maize, rice, beans and cassava. They also do fishing and handicraft.
Samora Moises Machel 02Mozambique attained independence on 25th June of 1975. The first president was Samora Moises Machel who perished in a plane crash. He was then succeeded by Joaquim Chissano. The actual president is Armando Guebuza. Mozambique is still in the process of development both politically and economically. It had faced many challenges since independence including fifteen years of civil war between Frelimo and Renamo. Heavy floods, famine and earthquakes brought also lots of destruction. These factors explain the level of poverty prevailing up to now even though the country is experiencing strong economic growth.
A peace accord was finally signed in Rome in 1992 through the mediation of the Catholic Church. It is really sad that the full content of these agreements have not yet been fully implemented. The government has been reluctant which is resulting in tension in the country. After 21 years since the peace accord, the government is still dialoguing with the opposition on how fully implement these agreements.
The Church in Mozambique is both old and young. As a matter of fact, the Church has just celebrated 500 years of existence. On the other hand, many setbacks affected the life of the Church before and after independence; accusation of collaboration with the colonizers, departure of many missionaries, local priests having to ask permission from the government four days in advance in order to celebrate Mass on Sundays. As a result, primary evangelization remains the main trend of the pastoral life of the Church whereby church attendance in some places is minimal.
Flag of MozambiqueI can say that I benefit a lot to know more about the historical background of Mozambique. Little by little I am gathering more information for my enrichment and pastoral experience.
By Maurice Odhiambo
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