Dubbed “Home of the brave!”, Maputo is one of the most attractive capitals in Africa, boasting scenic beauty of avenues lined with jacaranda and acacias.
Independence Square houses a few historic features which include the The Cathedral – a particularly imposing sight – the neo-classical City Council Chambers buildings and, above all, the giant statue of Samora Moisés Machel, the military commander, revolutionary socialist leader and first President of Mozambique.
A beautiful city with a rich mixture of old architecture and modernisation, the city is definitely a clear testimony of what diversity and change can bring about.
The Mozambican War of Independence, an armed conflict between the guerrilla forces of the Mozambique Liberation Front or FRELIMO (Frente de Libertação de Moçambique), and Portugal started on September 25 in 1964 and ended with a ceasefire on September 8, 1974, resulting in a negotiated independence in 1975. FRELIMO took complete control of the territory after a transition period, as agreed in the Lusaka Accord which recognized Mozambique’s right to independence and the terms of the transfer of power. Within a year of the Portuguese coup, almost all Portuguese population had left the African territory – some expelled by the new government of independent Mozambique, some fleeing in fear. Mozambique became independent from Portugal on June 25, 1975.
Before it gained its independence, Mozambique was under Portuguese rule and Maputo was known as “Lourenco Marques.” The struggle for independence in Mozambique started in 1964 as a result of civil unrest and frustration amongst indigenous people, who got tired of foreign rule, exploitation and mistreatment. Many Mozambicans also resented Portugal’s discriminatory policies towards indigenous people, which only served to further Portuguese economic interests.
A giant statue of Samora Moisés Machel at the Independence Square in Downtown Maputo
In 1990, at Independence Square in front of Maputo City Hall, a 4.8 tonne bronze statue of Samora Machel gazing down the avenue with his arm raised and finger pointing up (a well known stance he used when delivering speeches) facing towards the Bay of Maputo was erected in his honour.
As the leader of the nation’s independence, Machel was idolised as the hero of Mozambique after he led the local army to victory over the colonial Portuguese government in 1974 through guerrilla warfare.
He led the country from independence in 1975 until his death in 1986, when his presidential aircraft crashed in mountainous terrain where the borders of Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa converge
Popularly known as a national hero and “Father of the Nation”, Machel was a symbol of the liberation of African people from all forms of discrimination and exploitation.
High angle view of cathedral in city, Independence Square, Maputo, Mozambique