Mozambique was ruled by Portugal, and they share a main language (Portuguese) and main religion (Roman Catholicism). But since most of the people of Mozambique are Bantus, most of the culture is native; for Bantus living in urban areas, there is some Portuguese influence. Mozambican culture also influences the Portuguese culture. Mozambican food, music, movies (by RTP África), and traditions are now part of everyday lifestyles of Portugal.
The Makonde are renowned for their wood carving and elaborate masks (see picture), that are commonly used in traditional dances. There are two different kinds of wood carvings: shetani, (evil spirits), which are mostly carved in heavy ebony, tall, and elegantly curved with symbols and nonrepresentational faces; and ujamaa, which are totem-type carvings which illustrate lifelike faces of people and various figures. Theses sculptures are usually referred to as "family trees", because they tell stories of many generations.
During the last years of the colonial period, Mozambican art reflected the oppression by the colonial power, and became symbol of the resistance. After independence in 1975, the modern art came into a new phase. The two best known and most influential contemporary Mozambican artists are the painter Malangatana Ngwenyaand the sculptor Alberto Chissano. A lot of the post-independence art during the 1980s and 1990s reflect the political struggle, civil war, suffering, starvation, and struggle.
Dances are usually intricate, highly developed traditions throughout Mozambique. There are many different kinds of dances from tribe to tribe which are usually ritualistic in nature. The Chopi, for instance, act out battles dressed in animal skins. The men of Makua dress in colourful outfits and masks while dancing on stilts around the village for hours. Groups of women in the northern part of the country perform a traditional dance called tufo, to celebrate Islamic holidays.
With a nearly 500-year presence in the country, the Portuguese have greatly impacted Mozambique's cuisine. Staples and crops, such as cassava (a starchy root of Brazilian origin), cashew nuts (also of Brazilian origin, though Mozambique was once the largest producer of these nuts), and pãozinho , those are Portuguese-style French buns) were brought in by the Portuguese. The use of spices and seasonings such as bay leaves, chili peppers, fresh coriander, garlic, onions, paprika, red sweet peppers, and wine were introduced by the Portuguese, as were maize, millet, potatoes, rice, sorghum (a type of grass), and sugarcane. 'Espetada (kebab), the popular inteiro com piripiri (whole chicken in piri-piri sauce), prego (steak roll), pudim (pudding), and rissóis (battered shrimp) are all Portuguese dishes commonly eaten in present-day Mozambique.
Mozambican media is heavily influenced by the government.
Newspapers have relatively low circulation rates, due to high newspaper prices and low literacy rates.Among the most highly circulated newspapers are state-controlled dailies, such as Noticias and Diário de Moçambique, and the weekly Domingo. Their circulation is mostly confined to Maputo. Most funding and advertising revenue is given to pro-government newspapers. However, the number of private newspapers with critical views of the government have increased significantly in recent years.
Radio programmes are the most influential form of media in the country due to their ease of access.State-owned radio stations are more popular than privately owned media. This is exemplified by the government radio station, Rádio Moçambique, the most popular station in the country. It was established shortly after Mozambique's independence.
The T.V. stations watched by Mozambicans are STV, TIM, and TVM Televisão Moçambique. Through cable and satellite, viewers can access tens of other African, Asian, Brazilian, and European channels.
The music of Mozambique serves many purposes, ranging from religious expression to traditional ceremonies. Musical instruments are usually handmade. Some of the instruments used in Mozambican musical expression include drums made of wood and animal skin; the lupembe, a woodwind instrument made from animal horns or wood; and the marimba, which is a kind of xylophone native to Mozambique and other parts of Africa. The marimba is a popular instrument with the Chopi of the south central coast, who are famous for their musical skill and dance.
Some would say that Mozambique's music is similar to reggae and West Indiancalypso. Other music types are popular in Mozambique like marrabenta, and other Lusophone music forms like fado, bossa nova, and maxixe (with origins from kizomba, Maxixe, and samba).