Venize Maia Les Classes Moyennes en Afrique - Mozambic / parts 01

, par Joan Bardeletti

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Educated with a growing economic power ambitious for them and their country, the upper middle classes in Africa might play a very important role in the long awaited development of the black continent.

In a nice café of Maputo, but “much less expensive than the one of the fancy hotel near-by” she precise, I meet Isabel* who just came out of her small Toyota. She is one of these upper middle classes.
*name has been changed

Who are you ?

She is 33 years old, single and with no kids, she works for the Ministry of Justice within the IT department after having spent some times doing accounting for a bank.

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A bride dances till the morning during a 500 persons wedding in downtown Maputo © Joan Bardeletti

Brought up in a good neighbourhood, with a two parents working and only 2 brothers and sisters, she has always lived in Maputo and seen it changing over the year, as many African cities. “There are so many new buildings. When I was growing up, there were so many places empty to play. Now you do not have them anymore. More shops, more places to buy foods, clothes…”

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Ruco is a french teacher in a public school. He also teaches to policemen some nights to make about 00/month with a wife and 3 kids. He is raising money to built his own house. © Joan Bardeletti

Tell us about your parents

One could at first consider her as rich : living with $2000 a month while about half of the African population live on less $2 per day is comfortable. In fact she admits it, but do not consider her as rich : life is expensive in Maputo and receiving her salary on the 23rd of the month, she has not much left when the next month begin, after having paid her rent ($500), credits, and other expenses.

What is for you a rich person ?

Where do you live ?

Her day can really be compared to a European businesswoman : she usually wakes up at 6am, go to work from 07:30 until 4:30pm, eating lunch over her laptop and then running to English course at the British council for 2 hours to prepare her application for an MBA scholarship in England or South Africa.

A day of work ?

Young, active, confident, maybe she suffers from this discrimination that tend to lower the salary of women toward men as it happen in Europe. Well, in fact no ! “You know here, it is more about liking boots, you have to hang out where the boss goes, and this, women know how to do it, … and it is for men that it might be more difficult !”

Do you feel discriminated as a woman ?

To get the job at the Ministry of Justice she had to become a member of the FRELIMO, the party in power for so long in Mozambique. Involvement in the political life is useless and might be dangerous for her position. She feels however that things are evolving with these 15 years of peace and the economic growth. The MDM party, a new comer in the Mozambican political life might begin to change some things…
She might go abroad for some times to study and experience life elsewhere, but there is no other place than in Maputo that she wants to live and work “I love my town… and my country”
So Middle class or not Isabel ?
Well, for sure not poor and not that rich neither, she could be one of this African citizens that may spin the continent forward.

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Venize with her maid during a party she is throwing at her appartment with a few friends. Working for the government, she is taking courses at night to be able to go study abroad soon. © Joan Bardeletti