Ilha de Mozambique is probably the most famous place in Mozambique. It is a very small island connected to the mainland with a long causeway. The island has been a location for arrival and departure into Africa, from the Indies on the way to Europe sailing south passing Cape and then sailing up the Atlantic. It was a major Arab port and boatbuilding centre long before Vasco De Gama arrived there in 1498.

The island contains a fortress that ages probably over 1000 years, was first set up by Arabic merchants and then later taken over by the Portugese. The island has been nominated a UNESCO world heritage site and contains architecture from pre renaissance as well as properly classical buildings. To visit was interesting, the road passes through the African bush, a very fertile agricultural land with many small farmers, villages with straw huts, but occasionally one also saw concrete ruins, probably from the Portugese  colonial times. Sad to see almost all of them empty and ruined with the locals living in their more indegineous houses. The war after the Portugese left, a war between USA and the Soviet Union has damaged greatly the culture, but . .  maybe also some of the Portugese methods and systems did actually not fit very well the climate and local culture. It was possible while they could run the place, base it on slavery really, but today new infrastructures are being built up, telephone systems, energy, transport and economic systems that hopefully creates sustainable Mozambican culture. There are many things that still need improvement, but I must admit that I am very optimistic for this land. It reminds me of my youth in my country and now seeing how far my country has come in the last 50 years.

But it was sad to see the island in many ways. The people there run their lifes, markets, fishing and tourism in ruins, many of wich are pure ruins really, with cloth replacing old wooden doors, gaps in roof tiling and rubbish and sewage goes directly into the sea, just like I remember from the small towns in Iceland when I was young.

Here is a little photo album from my visit, but I will put more images when I get to a proper internet connection for uploading.

January 3, 2011  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: PONDERINGS