Where: Avenida Robby Brothers, Maputo, Mozambique
When: Every Saturday
What’s in store: Potions, lotions, spells and commotion
Best buy: Capulanas – all purpose traditional clothing wrap for women
Where It’s At
Mercado Xipamanine is a Saturday market on Avenida Robby Brothers in Maputo, Mozambique. This really is a market where you can purchase anything from detergent to traditional spices for cooking, and capulanas (the all purpose traditional wraps worn by women), to Kalashnikov rifles – relics from the war of independence. It’s one of Maputo’s oldest markets, a hustling and bustling outdoor muddle of stalls, and it’s just the place to stock up on your curandeiros – traditional African medicines.
Unlike countries elsewhere in the world where alternative medicines are practised on the fringe of society, tribal medicine is mainstream in Mozambique and allopathic Western-style medicine is treated with suspicion. Brains, claws, rats feet, lucky potions, voodoo, and animals tails all solve various ailments. There’s a bizarre array of goods on offer which are definitely not for the squeamish.
The heat, noise, strange smells, sights and close proximity of other shoppers can make this an unnerving experience. Xipamanine is also notorious as a haven for pickpockets so it’s important to keep hold of your valuables at all times.
Mozaic is an excellent place to start when planning your trip to Mozambique. Based in Maputo, Mozaic can help with all aspect of your journey including travel, accommodation, diving, trips to the islands and tours. The helpful staff knows Mozambique inside-out and will make sure your trip goes as smoothly as possible.
By Faye Welborn