MOZAMBIQUE

Ze Maria’s gentle nature, intelligent wit and musical talent make him one of my most memorable friends in Africa. His go-getter attitude has made him a self-taught multi-instrumental musician who travels the world to perform, most notably with orchestras in the U.S. and Europe. He’s renowned for crafting the local woodwind instrument made out of the masala (Strychnos) fruit, pictured to the left. I feel privileged to own one of his creations, and to have him as a friend.

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I look up to inspiring mother-daughter duos like Mize and Filipa. Mize, who studied in Buenos Aires when she was young, worked hard to send her two daughters to English schools. Thanks to her, daughter Filipa is now studying law. After school Filipa has dreams of visiting Egypt and Rome, but wants to settle back in Mozambique eventually. Mize spends her days enjoying her new restaurant, Gare Bar, where she sells homemade jewelry and serves her Portuguese-inspired culinary creations.

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Helio and his band, Positivo, were the talk of the town during my month in Tofo, Mozambique. A professional singer-songwriter, Helio is known for his boisterous raps, energetic drum repertoires and standing-room only concerts. Guests frequently came with their own drums, eager to partake in Helio’s participatory-style performances. His photo was shot at his property a short walk from the main beach, where funky eco-cottages were housing musicians and professionals escaping from the city.

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Filipe grew up wanting to work in marine conservation. Naturally, since he lives in one of the most magical diving spots on the planet. Through a program sponsored by Ocean Revolution Mozambique, he was able to acquire his Padi diving instructors license and has been working as a guide and teacher for 4 years. He plans to continue teaching diving, maybe in Indonesia, and go to university for marine biology. He loves travelling to Europe and taking advantage of Tofo's thriving live music scene.

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A mix of sun, sea and smiling locals defines this coastal beauty where scuba diving with whale sharks and partying until dawn will leave you wanting more of Mozambique. 

"The understanding of Africa from the world, it’s wrong. They don’t show the other part of real Africa, I think is a problem."