Mozambique

Cahora & Tete

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The wealth of material culture

The wealth of material culture

The wealth of material culture

BY TRACY BROOKS

Henrik Ellert came to Mozambique in 1994 as manager of the Provincial Fund, set up to facilitate the transition of demobilised soldiers from war to peace. Regular travel throughout Mozambique offered him a tremendous insight into the country, its people, culture and history, signalling the start of a 20 fascination with and love forthe country.

After publishing his books The Material Culture of Zimbabwe and Traditional African Art of Zimbabwe, the concept for a book on the material culture of Mozambique swirled around Henrik’s head, tucked away behind other projects he was involved in. Then he met Jacqui Taylor, a talented artist, author and book designer, who immediately embraced the project, and three years later they produced the beautiful 420 page Mozambique Mosaic -The Material Culture of Mozambique(Hakata Books).

“I am interested in things that we have around us to make our lives more comfortable, things that we use in our daily routines; furniture, clothes, textiles, vessels,” Ellert says. “I thought that it would be a novel way to tell about Mozambique through the optic of material culture.” Indeed, no one who travels or lives in Mozambique will be able to put the book down, with its fascinating photographs and stories.

The true depth of Mozambique is revealed in the extensive breadth of topics covered in the book. From visual arts, numismatics, music, games, tools and weapons, fishing, architecture and eating; it even includes Mozambican recipes.

The author lights up with enthusiasm when asked whether his goal was to open up the incredible variety, history and multicultural roots behind every facet of Mozambique and its people. “Yes, yes, yes!” he replies.

Losing his wife and travel companion, Ethne, to cancer in 2013, he now divides his time between Zimbabwe and Mozambique. He has a daughter, Olivia, who lives in England and a son, Torben, in Denmark, as well as three grandchildren.

Read more articles from this issue:
Main menu (Issue 16, March 2014)
Full contents listing
Birds & Birding

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