Unmasking the cultural traditions of Mapiko and Nyau | Aga Khan Academies

Unmasking the cultural traditions of Mapiko and Nyau

11 March 2020

The Grade 7 students participated in a week long mask-making exercise facilitated by artist, Alfredo Semo. Through these art sessions, students discussed and learned about the traditions of the Nyau and Mapiko ethnic groups.

Organised by their Drama teacher, Rosa Jorge, students were given the opportunity of understanding two cultures through a hands-on class whereby they raised questions about the song and dance traditions of two different tribes.

Trained in graphics and ceramics, Alfredo Semo has experience in conducting such workshops for groups inside and outside Mozambique. He guided students through every step from creating the clay for the masks to final embellishments and decoration.

After creating the basic material for the masks, the students carved in facial features for their respective marks. Once dried they were given a coat of glue and painted in different colours depending on which group (Nyau or Mapiko) they belonged to.

Students were excited to create props for the performances which will happen later this month. Johanna Ferrão shared that she learned more than meets the eye from this mask-making workshop. “I learned that when we are working in groups, we gain a whole host of perspectives on a certain idea. But most importantly, through our discussions with Ms. Rosa and Mr. Alfredo, I learnt the importance of respecting all cultures and all beliefs in the world.”