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 in the neighborhood of Mafalala, too.  My friend Ivan Laranjeira runs tours of Mafalala, and he sent these great photos.

In the early 1960s, years before he became Mozambique’s first president, Samora Machel was a nurse, and according to Ivan he used a room in the house above to treat patients. FRELIMO held secret meetings in this house, and weapons were stored in the crawlspace below the floorboards.

Machel’s successor, Joaquim Chissano, lived in this house in the 1950s, when he came to Lourenço Marques to study at the Liceu Salazar.

You can reach Ivan at ivan@iverca.org.


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5 Responses to Wood and zinc

  1. Benedito Machava says:

    David, can you find out why the houses should be built in zinc? Was that because zinc was cheaper than bricks? Or there was some sort of colonial policy in regard to that?

    • David Morton says:

      During the colonial era no one in the subúrbios was allowed to build in brick or in cement block. Unless one had special permission–few did.

      Today, I’m told, building a wood-framed, zinc-paneled house is more expensive than building in cement blocks! But of course, nearly everyone still uses zinc panels for their roofs.

  2. Silje says:

    Hi David, did you see the article in the current LAM magazine about Mafalala Blues? (Think I forgot to keep it, by the way…)

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