"In my humble opinion, non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good." Mohandas K. Gandhi, leader of Indian nationalism and Father of the Nation (1869-1948)
Intsangano means "forum" or "meeting" in the language of the indigenous Mozambican Chopi (pronounced shop) people. The Chopi tribe derives from the Inhambane Province in Southern Mozambique. More specifically they live in Zavala and Inharrime districts. They are famous for their traditional music, specifically their instrument Mbila (plural Timbila), which is a xylophone. The Chopi Timbila music is normally displayed in big ensembles and created with collective input and cooperation from composers, musicians, dancers, and audiences, all done as a process. New pieces of music are composed and performed every one or two years, which then are played at various community events as M'saho (pronounced misaho, meaning entertainment.) The central part of the performance is the M'zeno (pronounced mizeno) a presentation where the words are heard more clearly, while the music is played in the background. The performers are in a sarcastic or humorous way informing about social issues. Culturally it is seen as an acceptable manner of broadcasting and recording important community events. It contains comments or statements that disagree, criticize, and/or protest the actions of leaders and other citizens. The aim is to change unwanted behavior and to balance power in society. The Chopi Timbila has become an essential part of the culture of Mozambique. It was proclaimed a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO in 2005 and inscribed on the "Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage" in 2008.
When Mozambique was part of the Portuguese colonies, many Mozambican people were used as forced labor, even after the Portuguese Empire abolished slavery in 1869. The system is known as chibalo. The Portuguese placed high taxes on local people. Those who could not pay, were taken for chibalo. These people normally never came back. They were used to build roads, railways, or to ferry goods over the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. Some worked on huge farms, growing crops intended for export to Portugal. The slavery system of chibalo took a heavy toll on the Chopi tribe, since they were considered to be hardworking people that easily would adapt. The only way the Chopi people could resist the abuse of the colonial masters was via the M'saho. Hence, they created music, dance, dramas, and songs that manifested the suffering of their people and they shared information between communities. Since the colonial masters did not understand the language, the Chopi tribe's non-violent resistance and distribution of information regarding Portuguese domination was never stopped. The colonial masters even attended the M'saho, enjoying the performances. This only increased the pleasure of the Chopi people, and thus the expressive quality of the M'saho. It should be added that had the colonial masters chosen to learn the language, it is not likely that they would have grasped the essence of the M'saho. Understanding the language fully also requires cultural insight since much is expressed indirectly.
Just like the non-violent Chopi tribe used the M'saho as an Intsangano to share information in order to change the unbalanced power structure derived from colonial domination, and to end the suffering it caused to their society, also the Intsangano website is a forum meant to share information with the aim, in a non-violent way, to transform the unbalanced energy derived from patriarchal domination, and thus end the crises this is causing to society and nature worldwide.
"Tshokoti yaxula ndzofu" The ant overcomes the elephant Chopi proverb
"When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall; think of it, always." Mohandas K. Gandhi