“África”

 
 

In Brazil people usually generalize the continent. We often use “Africa” ​​to portray all the countries that actually make up the continent. And before leaving home, the news, the friends, the local newspapers all said that “Renan was going to Africa.” And the worst of it, is that I did not realize the mistake myself and let it pass. Even with the previous MOVERs sharing their incredible experiences in Malawi, from discrepancy to the greatest wealth. Today, not only because of the crazy experience I have had living here, but also because I realize how our way of referring to “Africa” it upsets them, I see that we need to stop as soon as possible.

We should not blame ourselves. What comes to us in the media is very much like our current opinion. What should bother you is the unwillingness to change it, to research and try to look for the real reason things are happening and why they happen here.

Are they poor? Yes, but it is as unequal as we are accustomed to seeing in any first or second world country. The neighbourhood that I live in has beautiful buildings to the right and a few poorly constructed small houses to the left. Near the beach, you will find mansions and hotels overlooking the ocean. Meanwhile, down below, workers are exposed to sunlight all day trying to sell whatever they have on their hands to survive. Nothing different so far, right?

Is it underdeveloped? Perhaps. At peak times, queues of cars form in the streets. And they are not popular cars, no. Imported trucks on almost every corner (the country does not have its own car manufacturing company). On the grand avenues, exquisite bars that sell a watery glass of draft beer for triple the price you can buy a 600ml bottle of the same beer in a less trendy bar. And the style of Mozambicans usually alternates between the classic and cultural capulana clothes, local fabric, very colourful and full of life, and also among the well-known trendy clothes and most popular, and apparently, expensive brands. Nothing so different here, either.

Is there hunger? Yes, there are children asking for money on the sidewalk of fine restaurants that sell chicken at the price of a fine steak. Fast food chains take centre stage, pizzerias are a hit, with prices which by local standards are not as cheap as it may seem. In the shops, imported products take up entire shelves, and vegetables and fruits are always fresh and beautiful, and in turn, not expensive compared to proteins. This is valuing the local production and importing the necessary, giving an aid in the economy and the pockets of the workers. Any difference?

Is there any culture? Here you will not feel at loss of culture. This is actually the dumbest of questions. Since much of the culture of many countries, like Brazil itself, is imported from “Africa.” From the clothes, the dances, to the music. Culture is largely responsible for putting smiles on the sad faces we see in photos, on television or outside on the streets in our own countries. They have their own style of music, their traditional way of dancing, their craftsmanship done in an unusual way and yet as beautiful as any European artist who exhibits at the Louvre. And see the artists willing to put down a cloth on the ground, expose their art and bargain with you until the last second for a good price for both sides. Different for you?

Post "Africa"

Photo: Kristine Klausen

Mozambique exists. It is a country that is part of the great “Africa”.

Africa, that has Ethiopia. A country with its own airline distributing flights across the continent and part of Europe, in addition to being one of the oldest countries on the planet.

Africa that has Angola. A country with rhythms played on radios around the world, and one of them even inspired what is now the ‘samba’ in Brazil and, you see, from Brazil took to the rest of the continents.

Africa, that has Egypt. A country with one of the greatest tourist spots not only for historians, but for anyone who can appreciate such a unique culture. Their football team already got their dreamed classification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia due to Salah, current soccer superstar playing in one of the most disputed leagues.

Africa, that has Somalia. A country that recently suffered the second-largest terrorist attack in history, seconded only by 9/11 in the United States. The number of deaths increases every day and already exceeds 600, not counting the wounded.

Africa, that has Mozambique. A country with a lot of tourism, beautiful beaches and currents as hot as its climate. It has culture, like pubs and bars with live music and fixed days with jam sessions so everyone can have a good place to show off their talent. It has riches, such as literature or cinema, which are internationally known Mozambican attributes. There are good people, like a gentleman who saw my money fall out of his pocket and ran after me to return it.  Mozambique is like any other great European or American country. Political attacks also occur here. For instance, the president of Nampula was recently assassinated for petty reasons. This country has its social problems, like the inefficient police that scare us more than the criminals themselves. There is sexism, for example in the catcalls on the streets. Things like this happen in any other big European and American country as well.

A country with its problems and its virtues. A country like any other. However, being in “Africa” turns it into “Africa”. And because it is “Africa,” nobody cares.

Mia Couto, a Mozambican writer and known around the world, wrote in a book: “In order for the positive sides of the other to be perceived by me, I must erase mine, in order to become available to the other.” We cannot say that we are willing to get to know “Africa” ​​if we do not erase our distorted vision. We must prepare ourselves to shine a light on the things that have always been in front of us, but we did not want to see.

 

Renan Augusto Dias
Renan Augusto Dias

24 years old. Renan is a drummer, percussionist, trying to be a guitarist and records bad videos in which he tries to sing.
Renan left home early to work with music. At the age of 14 he formed his first band playing rock music, he has since ventured into different styles and instruments. As well as music he has dabbled in theatre since 2007, in 2015 he started his degree in scenical arts in Araçatuba, São Paulo.
In Mozambique you are finding different reasons for not giving up on art.

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