It was another bright day and in the evening Hans, my new found Swiss friend in Mozambique and I were walking towards the ferry and I wanted to take a few shots of the city across the sea at night.
As I was shooting away at the scenery by the sea I saw a trawler approach and I took a photo of it. A black man standing on it seemed excited and he thought I was trying to photograph him. He ran down towards me and showered me with vicious abuses or so I thought since the language was not familiar to me.
I showed him my camera as if to point and tell him that I was taking the photo of the trawler not him. But the dear gent was not in a mood to relent and before I knew it – I was suddenly by the local police.
I patiently again showed them all the photographs I had taken and tried to explain to them that i had no interest in taking the photos of the individual man. After some back and forth the cops realised that and let things be.
But I guess that dear man who felt he had been wronged was in a bad mood and he shouted “ Fuck of brown man , fuck off , fuck off from my country .” This was all a bit new to me now. I had lived in Africa for over a decade in my childhood and never recall or have experienced any kind of intolerance or any kind of racism.
So this was definitely something new to me. I had always read in history books, seen in documentaries on television, that it was always about the white man suppressing the black man. But here it was the opposite and not only was I being called names, even Hans caught a bit as the man shouted “ You European fuck off fuck off and go back to your country .” I did not know how to react to this and kept my mouth shut which is I guess perhaps the best thing to do in these circumstances.
Africa has changed and so have the Africans, they have broken free, of their colonial past and now wish to assert themselves.
Which is OK with me, but Maputo does not get a lot of tourism and if tourists are not welcome and like this in this country, then it will be difficult for them to attract those tourism dollars that they most certainly could do with.
I spoke with Hans about this and what I though and he replied sagely “ The world has changed and so has the black psychology, I guess they want to show how dominant they are and how they are not scared of the white or the brown man. But in my view their are better ways of doing this .”
We had dinner again that day at the Galaxy Restaurant that we sat down for some Indian bites “ You know Hans it sadden’s me that the Lands that I grew up in has become so intolerant .” taking a few bites of the chicken tikka masala.
“ I know Anuj , how you feel the black man has always accused the white man of racism .But this is now happening the other way around .” he took a bite of the tandoori naan with his fork and knife and I giggled “ It is funny to see you have an Indian Roti and Naan with fork and knife , use fingers and eat it like I do .” Hans agreed and dived into the Chicken Masala with his hands. I offered him a Gulab jamun and we happily tried to forget the unpleasant incident.