Experiencing and Empowering Mozambique the Mafalala Way
We are all patriots in one way or the other. For most of us, our leaders have made disappointing choices and added to that, there are wide disparities between the haves and the have-nots. Many sectors of industry are controlled by a select few and that perpetuates poverty. Yet we still love our country and will do whatever it takes to make the situation better. When Ivan Laranjeira completed University, he understood this gross imbalance and sought to solve it. The story of Iverca was born from a need to diversify Mozambique’s tourism sector and empower her most vulnerable people. Today, the organization has changed the face of tourism in Mozambique. You have not experienced the best Maputo has to offer if you do not take the Mafalala Tour and added to that, Iverca is spearheading programs that promote lasting change in what Ivan calls Maputo’s “capital”.
Mafalala is Maputo’s oldest township, rich in history and cultural decadence dating back to colonial times when Portuguese rules ostracized black people and stipulated that whites and blacks must live in different communities. Legends like Samora Machel, Joaquim Chissano, and the great Eusebio were born in Mafalala and the town grew to become the heart of the liberation struggle and a cultural foothold for many. The preservation and promotion of culture, heritage, and environment are very important for the Iverca team. This is reflected by their specific focus on uplifting the community through activities that show the rest of the world the authentic Mozambican experience.
As part of the Mafalala Tour for tourists and Mozambicans from all walks of life, people tour through Mafalala and get a glimpse into the multiculturism that Mafalala is all about. The tour tells a story, a story that includes music and dance from the Muthiana Orera: a group of women dressed in colorful fabrics and adorned in beautiful jewelry. As a way to showcase art and nurture new talent in the community, Iverca has also opened a Museum that has been praised for its role in ushering a new breed of artists who have varied perceptions of what being from Mafalala means. Iverca also holds the renowned annual Mafalala Festival which serves as a musical platform as well as a platform where food markets, gallery exhibitions, craft markets, and heritage discussions are held.
Iverca is doing an incredible job of transforming the way the world perceives Mafalala and how the community sees itself. As part of their empowerment programs, the organization also runs a library for the youth and they run various programs in the sports sector. As it turns out, tourism in Mozambique is not just about going to famous beaches!