Henriqueta Watevão Vamusse, “Henriqueta”

Henriqueta is a businesswoman and mother in Závora. As a fish buyer, broker and processor, she plays a dynamic and involved role in Závora’s local economy. Henriqueta’s direct yet playful photos emphasize the value she places on quality products, fish as income, and social interactions with family and friends.

Závora’s fish buyers, like Henriqueta, are exclusively women. Henriqueta and others buy directly from fishers unloading their catch on the dunes to avoid any spoilage, since cold storage is uncommon in Mozambique. She also employs women, like her friend photographed here, who help her to clean the purchased fish on the beach. As a buyer, Henriqueta provides income for dozens of Závoran families and sets the daily prices for the fish she wants.

To professionalize her business, Henriqueta rents a space near the beach to further process the fish she purchased. Here, she photographs a friend gutting the morning’s catch. While Henriqueta was initially reserved, her photos exemplify her daily social life interacting with the entire fisheries local supply chain. Not seen is a cooler that Henriqueta and a neighbor share to store the fish before selling to markets as far away as Maputo, 260 miles south west of Závora.

On photographing her daughter: “I love her. This is why I do this work.” Henriqueta’s photos remind us that participatory photography is a window into understanding what the photographer values in her daily life.

Despite some tensions between fishers and buyers related to fish price and disagreements over quality, they each rely on one another for their livelihoods. Henriqueta photographs the fishers helping each other bring the boats onto the beach, up onto the dunes. They do this after every fishing trip to protect the boats against erratic coastal weather.