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. 

Team members

Daan Bauwens

Daan Bauwens is a Belgium-based investigative journalist.

Arminda Zandamela

Arminda Zandamela (1983) is a Mozambican HIV expert. She studied Sociology at the Eduardo Modlane University in Maputo.

Johanna Vandamme

Johanna Vandamme (1983) studied journalism in Kortrijk and Liège, did an internship at production company deMensen and graduated with a thesis on separatism in the Belgian press. She was editor-in-chief of the magazine Flanders Network, graphic designer of the Belgian photography magazine SNOR and studied camera technique in Manhattan.

A working grant of 3,600 euro awarded 13/09/2016.
ID FPD/2016/1305


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

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