The road to Marracuene is pretty busy, stretching from one of the wildest open markets in Maputo all the way up to the north. Even though Maputo to Marracuene is only 20km, it can take you more than an hour of driving if you care about safety.
There were times when that road crossed a farm area, only with an occasional building here and there, signaling a farm, a warehouse or a church, a typical countryside scenery! Nowadays there are non-interrupted crowds, buildings and markets. We can do nothing about it. Except for the island Maputo is, with its buildings and well-planned streets, Mozambique has become a truly African country.
Witnessing that African way of life must be hard to Western eyes. Though, one day, it can even be proved that they are right: despite all the visible confusion and dirtiness, Africans are not the ones harming the environment.
Concerning this matter, I sympathize with the South African approach: allowing people to go on with their lives but within a certain order. All the easiness and carelessness in Mozambique, widely accepted with the excuse of extreme poverty, sooner or later is going to slap into someone’s face.
What I have to say is that an area supposed to be for farm productivity and related industries should be maintained like that and not transformed into dormitory or endless dumbanengue. And if such alterations are unavoidable, then they should follow a plan.
There is no significative vision for Marracuene. That cute village could well be a tourism and museum small town, without having to invest heavily to achieve it. And by the way, shouldn’t a place where Mozambicans fought the colonialism be declared historical and protected?
What we have been witnessing over the last years is bad taste constructions, empty ruins and the usual proliferation of barracas displaying all kind of stuff, mainly beer and soft drinks. Near the batelão, a forty years survivor (at least), women sell fish and sundries without a proper place or shadow to protect themselves and the products they sell.
When the subject is Marracuene, there are so many things to do and so little resources and enthusiasm that the obvious question always is: why even bother?
Dumbanengue – street market
Barraca – tent to sell products
Batelão – ferryboat