Nzango Artist Residency

Based in Mozambique 🇲🇿



Native Practices of Mozambique: Creativity, Spirituality and Culture to resist climate change” is a project that develops research and audiovisual documentation of current cultural practices of different ethnicities from the three regions of Mozambique (north, center and south), in traditional communities that They have a rich and vast amount of music, dances and rituals, mainly linked to their work and spiritual activities.
Bantu traditions are alive in contemporary Mozambique and have a lot to tell us about possible futures and how to get there.
What strategies do these people have to continue these practices? And what is the impact of climate change on their ways of life?
We want to understand, beyond strategies, how these climatic effects influence the times of rituals or even how these situations leave cultural and artistic marks in each territory.
The Mozambican Native Practices Project: creativity, spirituality and culture to resist climate change” is funded by the Sound Connects Fund, an initiative of the Music in Africa Foundation (MIAF) and Goethe-Institut. The Sound Connects Fund is made possible with the financial contribution of the European Union and the support of the Organization of ACP States



What songs do you sing while fishing?
When we have hours, sometimes at night, everyone makes their own personal composition. They say that giving birth is very good, it only hurts when you are having contractions before giving birth, the songs talk about that, about the contractions that hurt, but giving birth cheers you up. Another song talks about paying prostitutes, “pay prostitutes”.
Do you compose these songs that you sing, or are they popular songs?
Sometimes we compose songs because we are inspired by the moment. But other songs are popular songs. We use these songs for our way of hunting (harpoon fishing for lobster and diving). Each person sings the things they remember. So, when we sing these songs it’s more about giving the fish time to look for food in the water.
When you get good fishing, do you have celebratory music?
The songs we make are songs that say that today we are going to have good fishing, we are going to be successful. In this way we are expressing joy. We also make songs to thank God to thank and ask that tomorrow we will be more successful and that our fishing continues to prosper.
Are the songs you sing when you have good fishing accompanied by dance moves?
We can’t dance because of our baskets, which are heavy because of so many fish. We can only sing to ask that we have good fishing or hunting tomorrow. Sometimes we sing on the boat in the middle of the sea, so there’s no way to dance on the boat. We can only sing.
Is the boat you use to sing in the sea?
Yes. Normally, when you have the money and sold the fish, you can dance there, outside the sea. But without money, forget it, you can’t dance. Because in truth, happiness and celebration come from money, then you want to celebrate because you sold your fish and have money. Joy comes from there. But when you don’t have money, you only have fish, that fish can rot. First you have to go to Zavala to sell the fish. So when you have money you can drink, get drunk and then you start dancing.
What are your names?
Mario, Magoa, Edgar Salomão, Nelson Salomão.
When you are at sea, do you work together at the same time?
We usually work together because there are great dangers at sea, sometimes there are sharks there. Even with the boat, you have to be close to each other, because the boat can capsize and one has to support the other. To help each other.
Aren’t you afraid of these sharks?

No, we are not afraid. Even here where we are, there are snakes, but we know how to deal with them. You may be afraid but hunger forces you to have courage. So you end up taking risks because you’re feeling hungry.

When you meet a shark, how do you behave in the water?
We have weapons. When they find us, they don’t chase us, they chase that fish that we caught, and they arrive and cut that buoy. They can even split the fish in half. You keep the head of the fish, plus the tail, that’s it. The shark already took it. The sharks we encountered are not the ones that bite people, they are the ones that eat fish.
Do climate changes mean that fishing is not abundant?
The weather does have an influence, but we don’t stop going into the sea. When we can’t go into the sea, we go to fresh water. And even here in fresh water we managed to catch a big fish like the one we caught in the sea. That’s when it’s complicated out there in the big sea or the sea refuses. There, we can spend a week without finding anything and here we can catch a lot of fish. The fish on the beach can also create bad weather through a cloud. When you’re fishing the dark cloud closes everything and you can’t see where the fish is, you look for the fish but you can’t find it. Sometimes with the wind you don’t understand where you’re going. That’s why sometimes there are those days when it’s not easy to fish.
Do you have a resolution strategy when you are in a situation like this?
When this is the case, the solution is to get out of the sea. Because time has already changed. There is no way to insist on fishing.
What is the use of the fish you catch?
We sell. We weigh it with the scales and sell it. But customers are rare. We can fish with full baskets but it is difficult to sell this fish. We have to walk around the community, in different places, you can even go to Zavala, but it’s not easy to find fishermen.
Do you eat fish with your family?
Of course. In our situation there are fish from the day before and yesterday. Today is day one, let’s eat. But as we fish, we are tired of eating fish. Sometimes we fish for Groupers. We want other snacks besides fish. The fish have already closed our hearts. But these other snacks are not easy to find.

What is the difference between beach fish and lake fish? They are the same?

No, they are very different. Here in the river, this fish lives with crocodiles. There are black fish that crocodiles really like to eat. But there are no crocodiles in the sea. Here on the river, yes, there is. There are sharks in the sea. Crocodiles like this river water. Hippos like it too.
Have you found crocodiles here?
Yes, we found them a long time ago but we killed them. When it fills a lot with water and we have animal movement here in the river. Now that the water is below, there is none. Once a crocodile came in, and with our bazooka (harpoon), we killed it.
As soon as people come to swim here, aren’t they in danger?
Here the danger is of being pulled by the water, because the current is strong. But in terms of crocodiles, there are no crocodiles here. Because when a crocodile comes in here, we can catch it.
How can you see that the crocodile is there?
We have our masks here. Just look at each other, we have our bazooka. So when we have a bazooka and a buoy, the buoy tells us where he is moving. Through the buoy we can see where he is and chase him.
How do you kill lobsters in the water?
We have weapons that we built, some small ones. It’s a kind of stick, with an iron and an elastic band. It works like a slingshot, you stretch the elastic, we have a stub, you move it and the pressure releases when you see the lobster. This slingshot is tied to the stick that we use to shoot the lobster. It usually doesn’t fail. But sometimes our slingshot gets tired from all the exercise of beating the lobsters and spoils it.
What type of instruments do they use when fishing?
Glasses, fins and our weapons.
How do you, as fishermen, maintain the beach?
Before going to the beach, we spoke to local leaders to pay for licenses. Days like today that are holidays, we combine and have parties. We can even kill a pig to invite the leaders, we can eat together. This is our coexistence practice that we have here.
For example, with plastics, fish are at risk of swallowing these plastics. Are you careful with the plastics you use? Are you aware of this?
Of course we are careful. We have our own clothing to go into the water. For example, foreigners who have fair skin may attract sharks. So you have to wear dark clothes. If you go in without clothes, the sharks can eat you right away. This happens more to white people, not us black people.