- "The Tio never developed a monumental architecture, not because they were not able to, but because they were not interested." –Jan Vansina
Generous support for the research that allowed me to write Hotel Universo has come from the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian and a Fulbright Program grant sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Dept. of State and administered by the Institute of International Education. But, of course, all content on this website is produced by me and is my sole responsibility, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of any sponsoring institutions.
Currently on hiatus, but you can email me, David Morton, at hoteluniversoblog at gmail.com.
Category Archives: Maputo
António de Oliveira Salazar, the former Portuguese dictator, is not someone who I expected to come across in downtown Maputo. Following independence, most surviving monuments from the colonial period were stashed away at the old fort. But my friend John … Continue reading
This year Mozambique commemorates the 25th anniversary of the death of its first president, Samora Machel, who was killed, along with 34 others, in a plane crash that many Mozambicans believe was a South African act of sabotage. A giant … Continue reading
There are a lot more flat surfaces in Maputo’s bairros than there used to be. Houses and fences were once made exclusively from bundled reeds and corrugated zinc and oil drums split open and beaten into panels. Today, though, well … Continue reading
The pace of my research accelerated in May and, not coincidentally, you haven’t heard from me since then. Mostly I’ve been in Chamanculo; for several weeks I was living with Castigo Guambe’s family at the house I wrote about in … Continue reading
In the squatter settlements of many South American cities, building a house with a flat roof is a mark of distinction. It indicates that someday, somehow, you plan on building a second floor. The steel reinforcing bars sprouting from the … Continue reading
In the previous post, I wrote about Ana Laura Cumba and her late father, Frederico da Almeida Cumba, who as régulo in the decades before independence was the most powerful African man in Chamanculo. After the jump (and thanks to … Continue reading
Ana Laura Frederico da Almeida Cumba, also known as Chinoca, lives in what was once her father’s house. In the 1960s, when she was a little girl, it may have been the biggest house in the neighborhood, and it was … Continue reading
(This is Part I. Part II is here.) In Portuguese bookstores, history shelves sag with memoirs by Portuguese vets of the colonial wars in Africa. And in bookstores in Mozambique, the same space is reserved for memoirs by antigos combatentes, … Continue reading
I was in Leiria, a small medieval city about 100 miles north of Lisbon, when I first heard about Xibinhana’s cantina. I was interviewing Dinis Marques who, 45 years before, at the age of 15, left for Mozambique to work … Continue reading