Rubrica - Sabias que
I then headed to Lichinga, to catch a flight to Maputo, because on the following days I had a photography job there. On the way to Lichinga, the road was minimally good. It felt impossible, but I only ever came across two cars on the way. It was very cold when I arrived there, it was September. I stayed two days in Lichinga, before returning to Maputo. I ended up taking advantage of the opportunity and went down to Metangula, by the Niassa lake. It is a relatively small journey, but the height difference is huge. We left the coldness of Lichinga and quickly enjoyed the warmth of the lake. Lake Niassa is, definitively, one of the most spectacular places of our country. I flew to Maputo and returned again to Lichinga a few days later. That was when I brought a friend with me to accompany me on my trip. We set off with the goal of visiting the famous lodge Nkwichi, that at the time had already earned the prize of best eco-lodge in the world. You could only reach it by boat. Many of its clients went, and still go, by plane to the Malawian island of Likoma; from there, take the boat. I tried going by land, but I was quickly dissuaded because it was practically impossible to reach. On the way to the village where we would get on the boat to the lodge, we came across a very complicated path, a very steep decline. I kept the car on very low gears, and the car simply slid and hit, literally,
in the holes. It was terrifying, but we made it. I lost contact with the people from the lodge, but, lucky coincidence, the boat was about to arrive to pick up a South-African couple, guests. We managed to also get to the lodge which is in fact, paradise. We stayed for two nights. The sunset over the lake is fantastic. The water is crystal clear, you can dive and perfectly see the fish; the sweet water waves cause some surprise because they are not what we are accustomed to. It is hard to put such beauty into words. It is a practically virgin area. The lodge is expensive, but it meets any demand. The houses are built on rocks, the tubs are dug out, and the beds are on top of small flat areas. At the end of the day, after the twilight, all the guests get together around the bonfire, by the lake. There is no television, so, it is a place to isolate yourself from the world, to just relax. On the return, already on the way to the Island of Mozambique, we passed by Massangulo, a small village quite distant from Lichinga. It had a very unusual characteristic, yet very pretty: the roofs were covered in greenery, instead of the traditional thatch. Mozambique is definitively peculiar in each region, and the vastness of each province, on its own, makes them a different country, not only geographically but culturally.
REVISTA XONGUILA © ™ Ed. 15 • Junho/June 2019 - 81
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GABRIEL, THE MOZAMBICAN WHO ONCE WAS THE TALLEST MAN IN THE WORLD
abriel Mondlane was born in vila Manjacaze, in the province of Gaza, Mozambique, in 1994. He was considered the tallest man in the world, having been a part of the Guinness World Records Book for many years. He measured 2.45 meters and weighed more than 180 kilos. Still young he was hospitalized at Miguel Bombarda hospital, in Lourenço Marques, to try to understand the reasons behind his unusual growth and stop it. His gigantism made him travel the world. He was a victim of the exploitation of people with particular deficiencies, for the entertainment of the masses, by part of the promoters of shows and businessmen. They presented him at circuses, fairs, and other events, in exchange for an entry fee. At a fair, Gabriel met Miss Maria, with whom he married and had three children. Nuno Soares, the editor of this magazine, remembers a brief encounter that he had with him as a child: "At approximately 5 years of age, on a vacation trip to Portugal, I was taking a walk with my mother, when we came upon something which was not exactly a fair or circus, a kind of event we had never seen. Curious, not knowing what to expect, we went in. It had attractions such as two-headed animals, with or without one or more paws than usual, and a series of other peculiar beings. Among those "attractions", was, in a small room in a quiet place, an extremely tall man, sitting, with shrunken shoulders, in front of an old television. Once in a while he got up and walked around the compartment. My mother explained to
me who that figure that imposed itself before us was and suggested I go salute him: Go up to him, salute him and tell him that you are also from Mozambique. I worked up the courage and there I went. He heard my words, looked at me, smiled, in spite of the sadness that his gaze revealed, put his hand over my head and said: May you have a good life kid! And that is how I met Gabriel Mondlane, the giant of Manjacaze. At times to emphasize his stature, Gabriel performed with Toninho de Arcozelo, a 75-centimeter dwarf. Both of them attended António de Oliveira Salazar's wake, side by side, in a respectful pose. It was only in 1990 that Gabriel returned to his country. One day, in the yard of his house, in his homeland, he had a dangerous fall, from which he suffered serious head trauma. He did not recover, eventually dying at Maputo's Central Hospital, at just 45 years of age. The life of Gabriel Estevão Mondlane gave origin to a romance titled "Travelling with a White in the Pocket", from the Portuguese poet and fiction writer Manuel da Silva Ramos. In the book, there are references to the passing of Gabriel through Thailand, on the occasion of the inauguration of the opening of the supermarket Makro, in August of 1989. His image, next to his wife Maria, was on the pages of every newspaper in the Thai capital. There are also mentions of his going to Angola, a country where he was very solicited for publicity.
REVISTA XONGUILA © ™ Ed. 15 • Junho/June 2019 - 107
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