Street chairs (mostly)

There is a lot of street life in Maputo and the ubiquitous shady trees provide perfect conditions for trade, socialising, playing draughts with metal or plastic beer tops, and generally hanging out.

To ensure a modicum of comfort, chairs are brought along and parked at particular spots. They are mightily overused and get worn out, mainly because most chairs are plastic, so it is usual to pile up two or more and tie them together to make up for a missing leg, a broken arm rest, a cracked seat.  Even nails are used to repair the plastic!

Hammer and nails to fix the plastic leg!

These repaired chairs then become personalised and are jealously guarded, often attached by padlocks or chains to metal shop shutters or concrete posts.  Some chairs are never vacant, and a morning peanut and cashew vendor will cede the chair to an afternoon fried snack seller, who will pass it in turn to a night guard.

Favourite chair chained up against theft

Hawkers' change over time

Game of draughts abandoned

Someone's night time stalwart

Arms to ploughshares (needs a cushion!)

There are other unusual chairs around too – including those made out of used bombs and other rusty ordnance picked up in the aftermath of war.  Other chairs are just cool, like this one that’s in the French-Mozambique Cultural Centre, in which I sometimes park myself to watch TV news.

Trendy way to recycle your jeans

Our guard Constancia, who we thought never slept as he appeared to be 24/7 outside the building with his battered chair, turns out to have a cousin he shares the task with….Now I have seen them together I can identify the difference: Constancia has a front tooth missing and cousin Joaquim does not. We feel a bit guilty when we come home at the small hours, often from a live music venue, as one or other of them has by then brought their chair (below) into the hall and is wrapped up in a blanket and somehow comfortably draped over it for an extended night guard’s cat nap.

Constancia's chair is a street landmark for us and friends

Constancia 'ensconced' in his guard's chair

Wounded soldier seen in Beira

Modified office chair !

Another wounded soldier on its third life

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6 Responses to Street chairs (mostly)

  1. Imran says:

    wow! People have a more relaxed relationship with chairs this side of Africa, but they do love them!

  2. Jo says:

    What brilliant chairs; I do like a good chair mash-up. Put them in a gallery back here in the UK and they’d sell as art 😉 Really enjoying your bloggage Venerable One.

    • prumoz says:

      Hey, I didn’t think of that! how about curating that?
      Tell your mum how to read my blog (if she wants to) – we’re out of touch since I left, as she doesn’t do email etc…. love to Oll and all xxxx

  3. Roz Hudson says:

    As ever, fascinating insights into life in Maputo – such observations tell so much more than any guide book. Any chance of travel adventures in late October/November?

    • prumoz says:

      Of course, dear, start your plans (I don’t have any yet). It’s winter now (25 C not bad after the 39 C in March); in Oct/Nov apparently it’s more hot and wet… though not like SE Asia. I still have to discover a lot, but mark it in your calendar anyhow :o)) xxx

  4. Beautiful poetical handicrafted chairs.

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