Mozambican Culture

Mozambique is nearly twice the size of California with a tropical climate and one of the world’s largest gas fields. Its population is young with approximately 45 percent of its people under the age of 15. The capital, Maputo, has over one million residents. Most Mozambicans live in rural areas and are of African origin. The people of Mozambique are often described as calm and outgoing. Mozambican culture tends to be relaxed, favoring a slower paced way of living. Most Mozambicans place tremendous value in spending time together.

Host a Mozambican Student in the U.S.

Mozambican People and Community

People from Mozambique

Family dynamics in the north of Mozambique are predominately matriarchal. Women make most major family decisions and are perceived as the head of the family. Children in these families are seen as belonging to the mother and her side of the family.

In southern and central Mozambique, families are typically patriarchal. Men make most major family decisions and are perceived as the head of the family. Children are seen as belonging to the father and his side of the family. Once a father passes away, the oldest son becomes head of the family and responsible for the family’s well-being. This family structure is more common in rural areas than in cities.

Language and Communication Styles

Mozambique language

Portuguese is Mozambique’s official language, but only about ten percent of Mozambicans speak it fluently. The majority of Mozambicans communicate in their native languages, most of which are in the Bantu family. Some of the more commonly spoken languages in Mozambique are Emakhuwa, Xichangana, Cinyanja, Cisena, Elomwe, Echuwabo, Cindau, and Xitswa.

Food in Mozambique

Mozambique chips, food

Staple foods in Mozambique include rice and a paste (xima) made from sun-dried cereals, usually cornmeal. Some eat manioc (cassava) meal as well, particularly in northern Mozambique. In the north, beef and fish are often consumed dried. In rural areas of Mozambique, bushmeat (wildlife such as gazelles, monkeys, baboons, and hippopotamuses) are often eaten. Tropical fruits are abundant and are eaten as snacks or desserts. Mozambique has a wealth of vegetables like cacana mboa (pumpkin leaves), nhangana (leaves of nhemba beans), and cassava leaves.

Additional Resources