Dhow Fishermen


The patchwork dhow harnessed the movement of the wind. One, two, three, four and another penetrated the surface of the thigh-high water at evenly spaced intervals. Commands rode upon the back of the wind and filled their ears causing muscles to clench in synchronised movements. Each hauled the pregnant net from a different position and was heading towards a known convergence point, in the direction of the shore.

“Bom Dia,” I greeted them and so a very elaborate conversation (from their end) began, before I apologetically explained myself: “fala Ingles?” One took on the role of translator. “Where have you come from?” [For one ought to know where one is coming from and where one is going]. South Africa?” he supposed correctly. “Yes, I…


Speaking to and photographing these dhow fishermen was by far the highlight of my day. They were exceptionally polite. As they commanded the masts to steer homewards, to the thin slither of an island floating on the Mozambican horizon, they thanked me numerous times. For what I could not understand, for it was me who was grateful that I could stand among them: mouth agape, like their catch.

Iga Motylska

Iga Motylska is a Johannesburg-based freelance writer, photojournalist, sub-editor and blogger. She is published in numerous local and international publications, including: Forbes Africa, Forbes Woman Africa, Forbes Life Africa, CNBC Africa, Ventures Africa, Marie Claire, Sawubona, AA Traveller, Fastjet inflight magazine and Seoul Magazine among numerous others. Her editorial interests range from documenting the entrepreneurial spirit to women's and human rights issues, environmental affairs and of course travel writing.


  1. Really lovely picture and I hope to go there some time in future! Really like the rest of the blog too! Will definitely be checking back!

    • It’s a beautiful country with so much on offer. I’d definitely recommend it and I too shall be returning one day. Thanx a bunch! ‘See’ you again soon! :)

  2. Nicely composed image and a good story to go with it – I know they say that a picture is worth a 1000 words.. but sometimes few words can make the picture speak even more. Very nice and I shall be coming to check on your images again for sure!

    • Thank you for the lovely compliment! :) The translator kindly answered all of my eager questions. It was wonderful to hear about all of expeditions and experiences. They held up their most prized fish for me to photograph. I’m looking forward to welcoming you to my blog again soon. Till then!

Comments are closed