Thursday, April 05, 2007

The shattering of a myth

four seasons maputoOver the years, urban legends have circulated about the hotel. It is said that fleeing Portuguese settlers poured liquid cement into the plumbing system, or down the lift shafts.

"Savana"'s investigations, however, show that this is just a colourful myth. (full article here)

I was living in Maputo when that hotel was built. My school wasn't that far away from it and we used to pass it on our way to the Costa do Sol. All the adults I knew loathed the way it dominated the skyline in an area devoid of buildings. All the kids I knew were excited by it - tall buildings were cool!

My family stayed on after the Portuguese fled the country in 1974. I was living in Maxixe by then but often saw the building when in Maputo. And I 'knew' that the building had been sabotaged by the embittered fleeing Portuguese. I last saw it in 1996 when I visited Maputo for the first time in 19 years with my wife.

I told her the story about the cement in the lift shafts.

Now it's gone and with its demise I've learnt that something I believed for so long was completely untrue.

The BBC has a good series of pics showing its last moments or you can see a lot more pics on a blog wholly devoted to its demise.

UPDATE: This story corroborates the truth of the so-called urban myth. What is the real story, I wonder?


Blogger Caroline said...

Looks like this was a building that never should have been... and now it isn't... I hope whatever goes up to replace it doesn't meet the same fate.

9:26 am  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

It's going to be the new US embassy to Mozambique. So, the chance of it being blown up are a tad higher than for your average building.

4:02 pm  

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