Vibrant Mozambique embraces Commonwealth
Mozambique is a curious case in the Commonwealth. Originally it was a Portuguese colony and only in 1995 was it admitted as the first country to join the Commonwealth of Nations without historic links to Britain.
At its coastal capital, Maputo, the Queen’s Baton encountered a city with a charming blend of southern Europe and Africa. Merchants, marketers and fish mongers all played an important role in carrying Her Majesty’s message through the city’s nooks and crannies.
The people of Maputo, bursting with colour and curiosity, did a good job at reflecting the energy of the Gold Coast, which is embodied in the Baton’s design. Maputo’s fishermen were particularly interested to learn the Baton’s leading edge is made from reclaimed plastic from the ocean and waterways of the Gold Coast. They too, support a sustainable future for the ocean, from which they earn their livelihood.
The city’s fish market, the Mercado de Peixe, is a three-year-old building that is spotlessly clean and brimming with dozens of stalls selling fresh fish, crabs, prawns, crabs, clams, oysters and lobsters. The Baton’s appearance proved an amusing novelty on an ordinarily quiet Friday morning, and it was swept through the stalls by a Mexican wave of hands, song and laughter.
The Queen’s Baton concluded its Mozambique journey at the Commonwealth Games Association (CGA) and National Olympic Committee’s newly built headquarters, a majestic white building packed with sporting facilities and administration offices.
The parting words of the much loved outgoing CGA President, Marcelino Macome, were a heartfelt statement of commitment to sports in Mozambique.
When I walk into this room and see the people here, I feel so honoured. Where there was once a small house and a tree, today stands this building. It demonstrates our strength and our commitment to Mozambique’s sporting development.
Since making its Commonwealth Games debut at Kuala Lumpur 1998, Mozambique has made a name for itself in athletics. At the time, Maria Mutola was one of the world’s most outstanding woman runners. She claimed gold in the women’s 800 metres at Kuala Lumpur, again in Manchester 2002 and bronze at Melbourne 2006.
Mozambique is one of the few non-English speaking nations that will compete at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games next year.
In Australia, Batonbearer nominations are still open. Nominate someone great in your community to carry the Baton on its way to the start of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Nominate now at https://www.gc2018.com/qbr