An Overview of Maputo

Maputo has been the capital of Mozambique since 1898. The city was previously called Lourenço Marques until the country’s independence in 1975. It is the largest city in Mozambique and the country’s most important harbour. It is situated at the mouth of the Santo River in the extreme south, 90 km from the border with South Africa.

In comparison with other sub-Saharan African cities, the urban area feels small and concentrated, with wide avenues and old trees. People are generally out and about in the streets, walking, driving, and getting on with life. The vibe is healthy and active, with little begging and lots of street vendors and markets. There is no heavy presence of police during the day.

At times, the atmosphere in Maputo is as much South American as African. Buildings range from old colonial palaces to new high-rise constructions, but the dominant architecture consists of Stalinist-looking concrete-walled boxes, generally with badly eroded paint and rusty security bars.

Maputo was not always the city described above, but because of Mozambique’s war in the 1970s and 1980s the city was thrown from its prosperous position and into poverty. When peace finally came, the once proud city was in terrible disrepair. Thousands of immigrants crowded the buildings, litter lay everywhere and major services including water and electricity were out of commission.

Today, Maputo is slowly recapturing some of its former glory, although it has still not managed to reach the romantic heyday of the 60’s and early 70’s. The gap between rich and poor is vast: multi-million dollar mansions overlook the sea while massive slums ring the city, and dilapidated concrete high rises stand next to beautiful Portuguese villas (source).

Religion in Mozambique

56.1% of the population of Mozambique are Christian, 17.9% are Muslim, 18.7% had no religion and 7.3% adhered to other beliefs.

The Baha’i Faith has been present in Mozambique since the early 1950s, but did not openly identify itself in those years because of the strong influence of the Catholic Church which did not recognize it officially as a world religion. The independence in 1975 saw the entrance of new pioneers. In total, there are about 3,000 declared Baha’is in Mozambique as of 2010. The Administrative Committee is located in Maputo.

Muslims are particularly present in the north of the country. They are organized in several “tariqa” or brotherhoods. Two national organizations also exist – the Conselho Islâmico de Moçambique (reformists) and the Congresso Islâmico de Moçambique (pro-Sufi). There are also important Indo-Pakistani associations as well as some Shia and particularly Ismaili communities (source).

Would you pray that God would send more laborers to this city and country to lift His name high?

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