Loose ends

Shooting the film "Catembe" on location in the mid-60s. Ive seen 11 minutes of censored material, which includes aerial shots of the the shantytowns of Lourenço Marques. (Source: azuisultramarinos.blogspot.com)

  • Remember those stories about CocaCola? 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 old business journal I came across, Coke was bottled in the Portuguese colony from at least the 1950s. It was entirely legal. And according to Dinis Marques, one of the most popular drinks in the colonial capital was Coke with red wine. In Spain they call this a kalimotxo, a Basque word. The Portuguese call the drink a catembe, named for the fishing village opposite downtown Maputo, a favorite beach spot. The mixture was introduced to Portugal by Portuguese who left Mozambique following independence. But the only people in Portugal who actually enjoy catembes may be these same Portuguese who used to live in Mozambique. Everyone else thinks a catembe is a waste of good wine.
  • You will recall Dinis Marques as the Portuguese who at 15 worked in a cantina in Chamanculo, one of Maputo’s oldest African neighborhoods. Customers called the Portuguese owner of the cantina Shibinhana. Dinis spelled the word out for me, but he didn’t know what it meant. I previously speculated that it was derived from shabeen, as beer halls in South Africa are known. Bad guess. Alfredo Manjate, a 70-year-old teacher I recently interviewed in Chamanculo, told me that he remembered a Portuguese cantina proprietor called Xibinyana. (I believe this is the standard spelling of Shibinhana.) In XiRonga, the local language, xibinyana means “making a screwed-up face.” It’s also the word for “pit bull.” But maybe Alfredo and Dinis aren’t talking about the same guy. Maybe there was more than one Portuguese cantineiro in Chamanculo who looked like a pit bull.
  • Some of you may be wondering why you received an email from me about the murder of my friend’s pet zebra. Here’s why—why you received the email, not why zebras die: I keep my work notes in a private blog for better organization. A couple of times in the past week I accidentally posted my private notes as live items here on Hotel Universo. I trashed these mistaken posts almost immediately, but with blogs there are no take-backs. Subscribers probably received some of my notes in their inbox. Apologies.
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3 Responses to Loose ends

  1. DINIS MARQUES says:

    Hello David
    I think Alfredo is talking about the same Portuguese guy (my first boss in Mozambique) i’m telling this because of the meaning of the word “Shibinhana” according to your investigation….keep working on this David.
    Regards
    DINIS MARQUES

  2. Juliet Lyon says:

    I didn’t get your notes about the murdered pet zebra, but I would like to.

  3. Pingback: Glória and Company | Hotel Universo

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