Manteiga (middle) with the other members of their creative collective Spoek Mathambo and Aero Manyelo Photo: Justice Machaba
Batuk is a creative collective founded by South African electronic music producers Aero Manyelo and Spoek Mathambo alongside prolific artist and lead vocalist Manteiga from Mozambique. The eclectic ensemble is on a quest to connect the African diaspora by exchanging and sharing rhythm culture and language while fusing it with electrifying house beats. Ahead of their performance at the 7th edition of the Azgo Festival to be held in Maputo this later this month, IOL Travel caught up with lead vocalist Manteiga to find out more about Maputo through her eyes.
What are some of your favourite places in Maputo?
I have many favorite places in Maputo, it's my home city so obviously my favorite places are the homes of my family members. Mafalala is also one of my favorite places to hangout and visit. It is the biggest ghetto in Maputo, the neighborhood where my father is from, it is the root of many great poets and writers and politicians and artists in Maputo.
Otherwise, socially, the places I really enjoy going to to hang out in Maputo are Gil Vicente and Nucleo de arte. I also really enjoy going to Catembe and spending the day walking and having picnics on the breathtaking beach.
If you you could describe the city in three words, what would they be?
Raw. Friendly. Vibrant.
What are some dos and don'ts for people who are new to the city?
-Do soak in the local food and sea food. It's absolutely delicious!!!
-Do go visit the Catembe Island for a lovely lunch on the coast. The view of Maputo city is incredible. The trip on the boat to get there is also super fun.
-Do visit the Matola Monument Museum. It's a museum dedicated to the Apartheid struggle of South Africa and how the two countries connected politically during their individual struggles and wars.
-Do go visit the fish market near Baixa near the harbour. The best selling fresh sea food you will ever see in your life. Get some one Mozambican to prepare it for you.
-Do go out dancing!! The music and party life is so powerful in Mozambique. You will dance until sunrise very day.
-When you go dancing, go enjoy slow dancing to zouk or passada music. It's super sexy and super fun!!! Especially if you're single!
-Do go hangout at Costa d' Sol on Saturdays or Sunday afternoons for sunset. So many people gather there and play music from their cars and kick back. It's really fun.
-Do be friendly and try to learn basic Portuguese to get by.
-Don't think because you're street smart in another country that you won't get tricked in Maputo. Petty crime is big, so your fancy earrings and phone and wallet and handbag and sunglasses will get stolen if you are not cautious.
-Don't think you can disobey the rules of the road when driving in Maputo. Especially if your number plates are foreign. Your misbehavior to cops is like blood to sharks...they will get you.
-Don't be an idiot.
-Don't trust anyone with exchanging your money. Do it the correct way through the bank or use the South African banks which are now available throughout the city.
About the collective Batuk and the performance at the upcoming Azgo Festival:
How can you explain Batuk's sound to a person that's never heard it before?
A vibrant fusion of African rhythms and electronic flavor! A new sound! A taste of kwaito, zouk, house, electro, tribal, HYPE!!!!!
Is this the collective's first Azgo Festival? What is the collective expecting from the performance? From the experience of the festival itself?
Yes, it's Batuks first Azgo Festival. We are really excited! We prefer not to have any expectations but to just go in with positive energy. We all love Mozambique, it is where we recorded most of our debut album 'Musica da Terra'....so we can't wait to share our music live with the people!!!
What can festival goers expect from the Azgo set?
A really louco and fun show!!!
The seventh edition of the Azgo Festival will take place in Maputo, Mozambique on May 20.