1. Azgo Festival, 2. STRAB Festival, 3. Chopi Music Festival, 4. Independence Day Festivities, 5. Gwaza Muthini Festival, 6. Tambo International Art Festival, 7. Marrabenta Festival, 8. Kinani Contemporary Dance Festival, 9. Maputo Carnaval, 10. FORR Festival. Looking for a tropical African oasis to spice up your vacation time? Then Mozambique is the place to be. This Portuguese-speaking nation is nestled in southeastern Africa just below Tanzania. Mozambique rests alongside the pristine turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. But Mozambique is much more than its balmy beaches and serene lakes. The country boasts a rich cultural heritage of struggle and liberation. As a result, Mozambican history is intertwined with several lively festivities. Keep reading to discover the 10 most famous festivals in Mozambique you don’t want to miss.
- Azgo Festival
- STRAB Festival
- Chopi Music Festival
- Independence Day Festivities
- Gwaza Muthini Festival
- Tambo International Art Festival
- Marrabenta Festival
- Kinani Contemporary Dance Festival
- Maputo Carnaval
- FORR Festival
Azgo Festival is a two-day annual open-air music festival held in May at the Matchikitchiki grounds in Maputo, Mozambique. The festival’s name ‘Azgo’ is Maputo slang which means ‘Let’s go’.
Founded in 2011, Azgo Festival is organized by Khuzula Productions and is part of the African Music Festival Network. The project aims to promote culture through music, fine arts and cinema enabling local and international artists to share the same stage. Workshops, musical documentaries and craft and fashion shows take place against a background of street food and drink stalls.
The event benefits the locals by creating business opportunities, a range of fun educational activities and social responsibility through donating a portion of its proceeds to support children.
Photo: Music In Africa
Photo: apie project
STRAB or the Subterranean Rhythm & Blues experience, is another annual music festival featuring bands from rock to blues to jazz.
Interestingly, the event has its origins in 2003 as live entertainment for a birthday bash held by a group of scuba divers.
From its humble beginnings, the festival has since grown to now feature about 20 live bands. Keep in mind, however, that this will always be an exclusive event due to the size and capacity of the beach location, it is however well established and fully supported by committed music lovers who engage with the festival’s philosophy of respect, love and harmony. There will be a great beach party followed by the official festival.
Where: Ponta Malongane
When: May 25-28th
Video: Fire Desire Entertainment
Chopi Music Festival
Another most famous festival in Mozambique which will help you find out more about its culture and life is Chopi Music Festival, held in July and into August. It was set up to help preserve the musical heritage of this part of the world.
Music is played on the traditional mbila, which is a large handmade xylophone and is played by a group of people. This musical heritage has been recognized by UNESCO in 2005. Other traditional instruments that take centre stage include animal horns, rattles, drums and whistles. One of their most distinctive instruments is a flute made from the shell of a bush orange.
Where: Quissico, Cabo Delgado Province
When: End of July – August
Photo: Intangible Cultural Heritage
Independence Day Festivities
Independence Day, also known in Portuguese as Dia da Independência Nacional, is a national holiday celebrated on June 25th. It commemorates Mozambique’s independence from Portugal on June 25th 1975.
The festivities include live performances and traditional dancing. The national stadium is the venue for a fantastic concert during which many celebrated Mozambique bands perform. The President often attends and addresses the attendees. Many cultural events such as poetry, dancing and visual arts take place the week before.
When: June 25th
Video: Adam McInnes
Gwaza Muthini Festival
The annual Gwaza Muthini Festival pays homage to those who resisted colonial rule along with those who died in the historic Battle of Marracuene in 1895. It takes place in Marracuene town, which is about 30 km north of Maputo. Every year locals come together with traditional food, song, and dance. The celebrations honor those who died in the 1895 Battle of Marracuene.
Where: Marracuene Town, Maputo
Video: Valerio Sutho
Tambo International Art Festival
Tambo International Art Festival is one of the most famous festivals in Mozambique that you definitely cannot pass. The city of Pemba hosts this colorful festival that celebrates cultural diversity through art, dance, theater and music performances.
Visitors will enjoy 7 days in which to create art, exchange ideas and enjoy various kinds of workshops. There will be live performances and opportunities to interact with traditional artists from Pemba and other parts of the world.
Where: Pemba, Cabo Delgado Province
Photo: prumoz – WordPress.com
Video: Melpoe Mel
Marrabenta is a Mozambican music genre, said to have emerged in the 1940s in Maputo, or Lourenço Marques as it was then called, at a time was a cultural mixing pot, with traders, immigrants and workers flocking into ‘the Pearl of the Indian Ocean’. It is from this cosmopolitan heyday of the city that Marrabenta emerged.
The annual Marrabenta Festival celebrates the significance of this musical genre and aims to not only promote but preserve the genre’s existence. The aim is to pass the love of Marrabenta down from generation to generation. It features a special ‘Marrabenta train’ taking music lovers and musicians from Maputo’s historic train station to the nearby town of Marracuene, where the festival incorporates the Gwaza Muthini concert, the history of which dates back over a century.
Photo: Mail & Guardian
Kinani Contemporary Dance Festival
Kinani is a platform that aims to promote contemporary dance and the professionalization of young choreographers through the implementation of training programs. Kinani is an international biennial founded in 2005 in Maputo – Mozambique. With more than 15 years of existence and 8 editions of the biannual, the Festival is considered one of the most famous festivals in Mozambique and has found a place among the great events of contemporary dance on the African continent.
Kinani Contemporary Dance Festival took place in Maputo, Mozambique at numerous venues throughout the city. It opened with a site specific performance in a train station and then followed by six nights of shows in large scale theaters to black box venues around the city of Maputo. Companies came from near and far from Maputo to Madagascar and Swaziland to Japan.
During the day there were workshops and discussions as well as informational dialogues between artists, producers, managers, and designers. The Festival was well organized and attended by locals and internationals.
Photo: Club of Mozambique
The Maputo Carnival is a celebration held every year in the capital of Mozambique. The event intends to position itself as the largest carnival nationwide. In addition, it wishes to become a global tourist attraction to congregate thousands of people in a free and outdoor celebration with ambiance, music and dancing.
Maputo Carnivals seek to promote Mozambican culture through the performance of musical pieces and dance by each participating school, helping to position the culture internationally. The schools and students participate in an innovative project of a recreational, artistic and cultural nature, promoting a healthy and competitive environment among them.
Carnival in Maputo constantly competes with the Carnival of Quelimane to become an event recognized both nationally and internationally. Today the Maputo Carnival is held in the streets of the city and continues the parties in some clubs and bars. It also includes the participation of 3,000 dancers and 9,000 visitors from various parts of the country and the region.
Video: Tropigalia SA
The Fellowship of Rock & Roll or FORR in short, is so much more than just a music festival, it is a shared adventure to the beautiful coastal village of Ponta Malongane, Mozambique.
During the festival visitors will not only have the opportunity to listen to some of the best music currently on offer on the Southern African scene, but they will also be able to enjoy fantastic beaches, swim in the warm waters of the Indian ocean, scuba dive on some of the best reefs in the world, enjoy a scenic ocean excursion with perhaps the opportunity to swim with dolphins or go test your 4×4 skills in the sand. Not to forget spending great times with old and new friends in truly the most beautiful bar in the world.
Photo: Martin Rocka And The Sick Shop’s Facebook
Video: Jarmin Adventure