It was just 20 years ago that Mozambique freed itself from a war which had its two political parties, the Frelimo (The Liberation Front of Mozambique) and the Renamo (The Mozambican National Resistance), at odds during three decades, each trying to seize power after more than 500 years of Portuguese occupation. It is now a country in which the mortality rate of children is still very high and life expectancy is very low, despite having a slightly improved economic situation.

Despite all of the above, graffiti has made its way to the country, by the hand of the only writer from the country, Shot B. This underground Mozambican rapper left his signature in the capital city in which he lives, Maputo, between political and religious slogans, as well as some insults at neighbors or ex-girlfriends. This country has not yet had the good fortune to develop itself in the world of graffiti, unlike its neighboring country, South Africa. Here, it’s difficult to explain to everyone why two people would paint a 20 x 3 wall in an interior courtyard of a block of houses, without receiving any payment in return…

But who better to explain how it happened than the graffiti writer Spank One:

Montana colors put me in contact with the Shelflife store in Cape Town (South Africa), and without many problems, 40 cans of MTN 94 arrived to me in Maputo, in the space of just 8 days. It was the first time that something like that had happened around here. According to Shot-B, this was going to be the first Montana Colors wall in the country.

After driving around a bit in his car, we found the wall in an interior courtyard in the center of Maputo. One of the neighbors got furious when she saw that we were whitewashing the wall of ‘her house’, but when she saw the final result at the end of the day, her facial expression told a different story.

With our focus on the wall, during the day we talked about what message we wanted to put on the wall. A little while later, something happened to us that gave us the idea of making the theme ‘FTP Universal’; two policemen came, and we had to give them 500 meticals (about 12 euros) so that they’d let us keep painting. This kind of thing resolves itself differently in Spain. The two policemen left with smiles on their faces, giving us their mobile number in case other policemen came asking for money, “Call me if they come, and I’ll explain that you already paid me the ‘fine'”. I still have the number in my mobile, as a type of ‘cultural memento’.

Shot B fascinates me, since he paints without having anyone else around to compare his work to, as we’re all accustomed to in the world of graffiti. When the piece was finished, I asked him where he wanted to put the names of his crews, and his response was, “up there”, pointing to his own tag.

I gave him a copy of the Barcelona magazine “Goodfellas”, and he studied it for hours after. Shot-B definitely has a lot of hunger for graffiti!

Thank you to Montana Colors and Shelflife in South Africa! Africa is the future! Let’s paint it!

* Text: Spank One (FK). Photos: Dilayla Romeo.

Add a comment