Monthly Archives: February 2011

Wood and zinc

In my last post, I mentioned the wood-frame, zinc-paneled homes that one finds scattered throughout Xipamanine, relics of a time when such a home was for African families the upper limit of luxury. You can find dozens of wood-and-zinc houses … Continue reading

Posted in Maputo, Mozambique | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Helicopters over Xipamanine

A standard interview begins with the boring question: When were you born? Usually I get the simple answer, and we move on to more interesting things. Ana Magaia, the actress, answered the question with the date (December 27), the year … Continue reading

Posted in Maputo, Mozambique | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“X is like imperialism”

The military junta that ruled Greece beginning in 1967 banned the Beatles, miniskirts, and the letter Z. (At least according to this movie.) Z was shorthand for the word zei—“he lives”— a pithy slogan of resistance that recalled the memory … Continue reading

Posted in Mozambique | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Loose ends

Remember those stories about Coca–Cola? How it was banned in Portugal until the 1970s, but freely available in Mozambique? Well, it turns out that Coke wasn’t contraband smuggled into Mozambique from neighboring South Africa, as I suggested. According to an … Continue reading

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The Red Millionaire

From the memoirs of Jacinto Veloso, the former head of Mozambique’s intelligence services, comes a beautiful anecdote about Jean-Baptiste Doumeng, the famed Red Millionaire. Doumeng was a French Communist who made a fortune selling surplus butter and beef to the … Continue reading

Posted in Mozambique | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments