On Heroes Day in Mozambique there are two festivals in Marracuene, Maputo province. One is the annual Gwaza Muthini, an event commemorating the heroism of people who died in the 1895 battle of Marracuene. The remains of the Portuguese and Mozambican soldiers from the battle are buried under the dusty festival grounds. Two lines of trees, well over 30m tall nowadays, were planted in remembrance of the chiefs who died in the war. They host great flocks of cranes and herons. Although originally observed by the Portuguese people, Heroes Day was retained by the Mozambican government after independence in 1975. The annual celebration hosts a wide selection of ngoma (dance) and isicathamiya (vocal) performances. The link between the Shangaan and Zulu people is evident, with the difference being the Shangaan adding a touch of Calypso to their dance. Marracuene, 15km north of Maputo, takes its name, from "the buttocks of a woman", which the nearby hills resemble. The town lies on the banks o...

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