This month I had picked a country that I really genuinely knew nothing about – before this month I probably couldn’t have named the official language of Mozambique or anything else about it; I had no contact or reference apart from the trivia that it has an AK-47 on its flag. Writing down what I know about a country at the start of the month really highlights how little we (as white Canadians) know about or interact with the Global South. I’m sure when I have an European country (spoiler – next month!) I’ll be starting from a much deeper base of knowledge than I did for Mozambique. I guess that’s why I’m doing this project – there’s so much around the world I have no idea about, and even a month of scratching the surface feels really enriching.
So what did I learn about Mozambique this month?
Well, I learned about Mozambique’s history and their colonial relationship, how the civil war of the 80s still affects culture (both movies I watched were set in it), and a bit on how Mozambique navigates its situation as an extremely poor post-colonial country – particularly through forging relationships internationally (first the East Bloc, then the Commonwealth, and now China).
I tried to experience as many things that were BY Mozambicans, not just about them. This took a bit of digging (language being a big barrier), but I got to experience some amazing visual art, poetry, literature, and music – particularly music! Mozambique has some amazing music, there’s so many unique styles that originate there – Marrabenta, Pandza, Bondoro, traditional dances like Tufo, and it’s the origin of some really talented musicians.
The absolute best thing I learned this month was how to make absolutely killer Mozambican piri piri sauce – I used up the jar I made and I’m going to make more. I’ve used it as chicken marinade, pierogi dipping sauce, Sriracha replacement, and a pasta booster – it’s my new staple.