In poverty-stricken Mozambique, young women are obliged to sell their bodies to wealthier or white men. A general wisdom with cliché status. But is such a simple analysis correct? What does international research say and what do the women themselves think about their sexual practices and social status? 

In this reportage, journalists Daan Bauwens and Johanna Vandamme team up with Mozambican HIV researcher Arminda Zandamela to investigate the cultural background and divergent personal meanings of paid love and sex in Mozambique. Four "curtidoras" - Portuguese for "women who love life" - give a rare look into their nightly business. A story about superstition, love, witchcraft and HIV. 

Daan Bauwens

Daan Bauwens is a Belgian writer, journalist and documentary maker.

Arminda Zandamela

Arminda Zandamela (1983) is een Mozambikaanse expert in HIV-preventie. Ze studeerde sociologie aan de Eduardo Modlane University in Maputo en behaalde een postgraduaat mensenrechten aan de Pontificia Universidade Católica in Rio de Janeiro. Ze…

Johanna Vandamme

Johanna Vandamme (1983) studeerde journalistiek in Kortrijk en Luik.
A working grant of 3,600 euro awarded 13/09/2016.
ID FPD/2016/1305
Fonds Pascal Decroos


Maputo's material girls - De Morgen Magazine (BE), 18 November 2017