In terms of institutional structures responsible for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage (ICH), the National Directorate for Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Education and Culture is the main implementing body. The following three committees have also been established for this purpose: (1) the National Committee, comprising representatives from the Ministry of Culture, the Institute of Socio-cultural Research (ARPAC) and the National Commission for UNESCO; (2) a Local Committee for Nyau in Tete Province, composed of representatives from the Provincial Directorate of Education and Culture and eight district governments and community leaders; and (3) a Local Committee for Timbila, made up of the Zavala District Administration, the District Services of Education and Culture, the Association of the Friends of Zavala (AMIZAVA), timbaleiros (two from each Timbila orchestra) and traditional leaders (one per location).
From 2009 to 2012, training courses were held on inventorying ICH, on the Island of Mozambique’s Nampula province with participation of technicians and researchers from ARPAC and representatives of the local community belonging to the Makhuwa Nahara ethnolinguistic group. These courses were supported by UNESCO and the Support Education and Research Fund (FAEPEX) of Brazil. In 2013, with support from UNESCO, a workshop was held on community inventory-making which involved experts from the Ministry of Culture, and members of the Chinyambuzi community (Province of Manica).
Documentation on ICH is collected and held by two institutions: the National Directorate for Cultural Heritage, which directs, promotes and coordinates research and documentation of cultural heritage and ARPAC, which is regulated by the Ministry of Culture and has provincial delegations in ten of the eleven provinces of Mozambique. The Ministry of Education and Culture also promotes research and studies on Mozambican cultural values and ICH, ensuring their dissemination within and outside the country.
An inventory of ICH is currently under preparation as part of implementation of the 2003 Convention and elements are being investigated throughout the country by technicians from ARPAC and with involvement from local leaders and communities. So far, 19 elements have been included according to the following fields: domain/area; type (e.g. religious practices, social practices, performing arts, etc.); risks (e.g. deforestation due to urbanisation, stigmatisation, low number of practitioners); threats (e.g. changes in the community worldview and disappearance of social groups); ethnolinguistic group; and province. The domains thus far covered are: rituals, festive events, performing arts, social practices and traditional craftsmanship.
Other safeguarding measures include the adoption of a Culture Strategic Plan (2012–2022) and promotion by the Ministry of Education and Culture of the social value of popular traditions and oral literature as part of the Mozambican cultural identity.
ICT is promoted in different ways, for instance associated communities have been recognised by the ‘Award of the Bagamoyo’ medal, given to Chopi Timbila (Timbala) in May 2014 and to Gule Wamkulu (Nyau) in June 2014. This is also supported by participation and exhibition of cultural groups in official state events, celebrating cultural diversity and ICH and its contribution to national identity. In addition, tours by Timbila and Nyau groups and to different communities around the country are organised to introduce their heritage value. There is a permanent presence of Timbila and Nyau groups in festivals inside and outside the country. Brochures containing relevant information about the importance and appreciation of ICH have also been produced.
In order to strengthen the modes of transmission of Timbila and Nyau, an educational programme has been drawn up for integration of these elements into the curricula of local schools. However, there is a shortage of educational and financial resources and of teachers trained in teaching materials related to the elements. The practice of Timbila and Nyau continues to be transmitted through informal means and training on expressions of Timbila and Nyau is being provided by community leaders to young people as a way to reduce the school dropout rate. An association of timbaleiros gathers several groups from different localities and districts of Inhambane Province. A similar activity is taking place for Nyau in order to share different practices and experiences with neighbouring countries.
The Ministry of Education and Culture, in partnership with AMIZAVA and Timbila practitioners built a training centre in Zavala district, Inhambane Province, to teach young people and other stakeholders the production and play of the Timbila instrument. This centre will also promote planting of the Mwenje tree from which the musical instruments are manufactured.
On a regional level, Mozambique has enjoyed bilateral cultural exchanges and cooperation with Zambia and Malawi over joint nomination of Gule Wamkulu (Nyau). Internationally, cultural groups from Turkey, Egypt, Swaziland, Mauritius, China and France participated in the ‘VIII National Festival of Culture’ held in Inhambane Province in 2014 and the Anumadutchi group of musicians from the Royal Conservatory of The Hague studied Timbila playing from a master, leading to joint work on the element. Bilateral arrangements included one with the People’s Republic of China where about 60 employees of the Ministry of Culture participated in training courses in China in 2012 and 2013; from 2009 to 2012, FAEPEX supported training of specialists from ARPAC by Brazilian ICH experts. UNESCO also financed training programmes for the development of national inventories and sent experts to support national specialists in the cultural sector.
Two elements from Mozambique are inscribed on the Representative List, one of which is a multinational inscription: Chopi Timbila (2008); and Gule Wamkulu (2008, submitted jointly with Malawi and Zambia).