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Middle Classes in Africa - Mozambique

Joan Bardeletti

In 20 years’ time, 1 billion people in developing countries will belong to the world’s middle classes, ie one in six inhabitants on the planet. This population will mainly be concentrated in so-called « poor » countries, whereas at the moment it is still the symbol of western life style. This phenomenon is highly visible in South America and Asia, but remains underlying in Africa despite being the heart of development stakes in the continent. By combining a photographic and scientific approach, this project aims to understand and portray the middle classes in Africa.


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0268015

Lazaro Tembe works out on his pecs. Three times a week from 6-7.30am he goes to the gym before work. Having been a civil servant in social work for 15 years, he set up his own water conveyance company 5 years ago. Now his water pipes provide 500 homes with water and have taken over out-of-date state installations that can't cope with the demographic explosion.

Mozambique - 15/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267883

Roquea Naluzzi's new house. She has 2 children and used to live on the same land but in a traditional house made from wood and palm leaves with her husband. She opened a restaurant that is always full and is very popular with bus drivers which enabled her to build her own house. It has 3 bedrooms, a large sitting room and is very comfortable but is also used as a storage place for the restaurant.

Mozambique - 15/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267827

A wedding in the centre of Maputo. The wedding couple pose for photos with the bride's family. They are originally from nearby Swaziland and wanted to present their traditional dances and costume.

Maputo, Mozambique - 15/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267742

A family Sunday afternoon at the beach.

Maputo, Mozambique - 15/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267757

Luisa is a secretary at the German cultural centre in Maputo. She spent 7 years in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall, due to agreements with the socialist Mozambican government of the time, and is still bilingual. She is studying Economy at university as she wants to set up her own business. She earns around $500 a month, and her daughter's nursery will soon cost $60 a month.

Maputo, Mozambique - 15/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267766

On the border with South Africa. Paradoxically, products cost less in South Africa than in Mozambique so many Mozambicans frequently travel to the border to shop in the shopping centres there.

South African border, Mozambique - 20/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267738

A Mozambican couple shop in a supermarket in South Africa.

South African border., South africa - 20/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267781

At Eugenio's house after dinner. At 35 he is sales manager in a state company. He is very ambitious and spends long hours at work. His wife looks after the 3 children. He lives in an apartment in the centre of Maputo and the rent is roughly $500 a month. He has just recently gained unlimited access to internet.

Maputo, Mozambique - 25/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267750

Belina looks after a new-born baby that she has just helped deliver. She is a nurse in a state hospital in Inhambane, a small provincial town. She works nights, starting at 8pm. She doesn't earn much but it is a regular job and there aren't many other job opportunities.

Inhambane, Mozambique - 19/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267834

Adult evening classes in the British Council. These young women take English lessons for 2hrs each week after work. Speaking good English is a requirement for finding work in foreign companies that pay much better than local ones.

Maputo, Mozambique - 15/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267840

Picking tomatoes in a field near Chockwe, a small farming town 3 hrs from Maputo. Lucas Marcamo is a farmer who has taken out a loan of nearly $15,000 to buy the black baskets that the tomatoes will be transported in to Maputo in order to avoid using middle-men. He wants to increase his farm and has other projects in mind.

Chockwe, Mozambique - 20/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267841

Lucas Marcamo in one of his fields with his tractor. He is the only person in the area to own one. He rents it out to other farmers, allowing him to pay for repairs. He would like to pay off his loans rapidly, so he can take out another one to buy a second tractor.

Chockwe, Mozambique - 29/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267932

Ferry landing stage in Inhambane, a small coastal town. On the peninsula in the background, real estate pressure can be felt more and more and many houses are being built there. With the developing tourist industry in the country, this town is visited more and more as there are diving spots nearby.

Inhambane, Mozambique - 03/11/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267802

In the early morning, ferry passengers from Matola to Maputo are numerous. Most of them are commuting. Maputo is the capital and many people work there whereas Matola is a residential suburb which has become the second largest town in the country after exponential growth.

Maputo, Mozambique - 12/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267805

Children play in the entrance of a shopping centre on a Saturday afternoon.

Maputo, Mozambique - 12/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267936

Apartment building in the centre of Maputo. Many of the middle classes are leaving these expensive and small apartments behind ($500 a month for 4 rooms), for the residential town of Matola and a house and small garden.

Maputo, Mozambique - 22/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267763

At Maputo University all the students and employees are photographed to make new passes. More than 250 people will sit in front of Sergio's camera that day. He is the head of computing on the campus.

Maputo, Mozambique - 21/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267919

Lazaro looks at one of this installations in an outer suburb of Maputo. The inhabitants have asked him to build reservoirs and new water pipes to replace the old and broken ones. He is full of energy and works 15-hour days and feels that "Africans must wake up and become entrepreneurs".

Maputo, Mozambique - 28/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267779

In the car park of Maputo's biggest shopping centre. FRELIMO, the party in power since independence, has carried out a massive poster campaign all over the town, and in particular here, for the presidential elections in October 2009.

Maputo, Mozambique - 13/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267852

Premature babies in incubators in a hospital in Inhambane.

Inhambane, Mozambique - 25/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267743

Daniel Congolo shows the new 2-hectare field that he is going to change into a paddy field once he has built the right irrigation pipes to divert the water; In all he has 14 hectares, 10 of which are already devoted to rice. He has just taken out a loan to pay for repairs after recent flooding. He employs as many as 20 people to harvest, but has no regular salaried staff.

Chockwe, Mozambique - 22/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267949

During presidential candidate Dhlakama's campaign parade for the October 2009 elections. He is the head of the Renamo party. Renamo is the main opposition party to FRELIMO, the party that has been in power forever. Renamo is becoming more and more deserted by the middle classes who have had enough of their resistance to change.

Maputo, Mozambique - 26/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267747

Golf course near Maputo. Demographic pressure forces inhabitants to build right next to the course. A road even goes through the fairway and a police man has been hired to make sure traffic stops to avoid accidents when a player strikes the ball.

Maputo, Mozambique - 10/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0302887

Mariage dans le centre ville de Maputo. Ce soir là, environ 300 personnes sont réunis sous une grande tente montée dans un jardin public de la capitale. Après le mariage et la fête toute la nuit, les invités continuent le lendemain avec une cérémonie traditionnelle cette fois.

Maputo, Mozambique - 17/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267975

In Chockwe, a small provincial town, a new residential area is being built outside the town centre. This town between Maputo and South Africa has seen its population grow rapidly. Various trafficking carried out at the border also explains the flow of money that the town benefits from.

Chockwe, Mozambique - 21/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267961

Cristina Mayer (on the right) with a colleague. They pose in the area they work in after lunch. Cristina is 35 and in charge of accountancy for a company working in development, a sector that employs many people in Mozambique. She has 2 children, her husband works and they live in a good area in Maputo.

Maputo, Mozambique - 13/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267745

One of Eugenio's 3 children in the family living room during a tv programme about Miami's most beautiful homes.

Maputo, Mozambique - 17/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267929

An evangelical church in Matola. These churches that are often in old cinemas or hangars, like this one, are developing rapidly through intensive marketing programmes. They were first opened mainly in the poorest areas, but now they are picking up followers in the middle classes more and more.

Matola, Mozambique - 22/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267924

Dinner with friends before going out to a nightclub.

Maputo, Mozambique - 17/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267921

A guard from a security company watches over a bank in Chockwe.

Chockwe, Mozambique - 26/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267735

A family on the beach on a Sunday afternoon. In Mozambique couples have, on average, 5 children. In the middle classes, this number is lower (mostly two or three) as parents want to invest in their education and know what the cost will be.

Maputo, Mozambique - 22/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267788

Children pose in the dining room while their parents eat. Mozambican society is more mixed-race than most other African countries. Middle classes are black, mixed-race and white.

Maputo, Mozambique - 25/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267960

An apartment building in the centre of Maputo.

Maputo, Mozambique - 27/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267767

In Rouco's bedroom, a 30-year old French teacher in the suburbs of Maputo. He shows the bow and arrows that he intends to use if the burglars who have already tried to steal his computer equipment and hi-fi come back. He only has one room for him, his wife and baby. He has built on the land his parents live on.

Maputo, Mozambique - 13/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267762

Gym lessons on the sea front at 5.30am. The women share cars to come and have grouped together to pay an instructor.

Maputo, Mozambique - 30/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267922

In Chockwe, the owner of a butchers and his employee at closing time. In small towns, shops are usually run by mixed-race Mozambicans or Indians.

Chockwe, Mozambique - 18/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267955

In a private school in the suburbs of Maputo. Since the end of civil war, private schools and universities are becoming more and more numerous. Before there was only one state university in Maputo despite the fact that the country is more than 2000 kms long. For the middle classes educating children, along with rent, is the main expense.

Matola, Mozambique - 22/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267754

On Saturday evening on the sea front avenue. At dusk, tuned cars park, with boots and doors open, loud music blaring from over-sized speakers. The pavement becomes a place to flirt for all communities.

Maputo, Mozambique - 23/10/2009


Joan Bardeletti / Picturetank BAJ0267755

A wedding in Maputo city centre. That evening, more than 300 people gathered in a marquee set up in one of the capital's parks. After the wedding and the all night party, the guests carry on the next day with a traditional ceremony.

Maputo, Mozambique - 17/10/2009