A Brief Life History of Sebastião Matsinhe Print E-mail
Sebastião Filipe Matsinhe is the name by which he was baptised, at the United Methodist Church. He is a son of Filipe Sumburane Matsinhe with Luisa Laita Humbane. Sebastião is the last born in a family of four brothers and sister. He is a native of Mozambique, born on February 24th, 1967 in Cambine (Mission of the United Methodist Church)-Inhambane Province.

Filipe sumburane Matsinhe with his wife Luísa Laíta Humbane,
father and mother of Sebastião Matsinhe
(Photograph taken in the middle of 1960s).

Cambine is a locality of the Morrumbene District in the Inhambane province, more precisely in the South of the country. Inhambane province is situated 478 km north of Maputo, which is the capital of Mozambique. After Sebastião’s birth, he did not stay longer in Cambine, as his mother told him later on. This was because they did not have a home there. They stayed in Cambine only few days. Thus they had to go and live in Mahocha locality, in the Massinga District, which is in the same province. Mahocha is situated in the countryside. The house and the vast ground full of various trees in between coconut palms belong to their family and hence was/is their home.

Then they stayed there for approximately three years. When Sebastião was eleven months old, he lost his father. He did not have a chance to learn how to call him father as most other children do. This is an experience that Sebastião would like to feel but he never will. His father used to work in the gold mines, at Roodeport Durban Deep, Johannesburg, in South Africa, until 1965. His mother was as a farmer in a rural area and was an active woman at United Methodist Church.

Sebastião Matsinhe with his mother Luisa Laíta
(Fotograph taken by Paulo V. Timóteo, 1991).

After his father died, his mother had difficulties to support all the children. As a woman in a rural setting, together with her two sisters-in-law - Enera and Andrieta Quibine - and involved in agriculture, she supported all her children from the harvest of their work.

Enera (at the right) and Andrieta Quibine, sisters-in-law
of Sebastião’s mother ; in Mahocha – Massinga
(Photograph by Samson Matsinhe 0713/2005).

Then when Sebastião was three years old, in 1970, he went to live with his eldest brother Alipezado Filipe Matsinhe who was 24 years old, in the then Lourenço Marques (today called Maputo – the Mozambican capital) who was already working there. His other brothers also were working in the same city. Maputo is therefore the place where Sebastião grew up. He attended his primary school education a bit late compared with other children, at Comandante Correia da Silva Primary School (Escola Primaria Comandante Correia da Silva) at the time, today it is called ’16 de Junho Primary School’ (Escola Primaria 16 de Junho); and the secondary education, was at “Maxaquene Secondary School”(Escola Secundaria da Maxaquene); “Josina Machel Secondary School” (Escola Secundaria Josina Machel), and his high school at “Francisco Manyanga Secondary School” (Escola Secundaria Francisco Manyanga), respectively. In 1992, he completed his high school education under the formal colonial education system.

Sebastião’s life is divided in two parts of life experiences that he lived through, during his youth. These two stages of life experiences are, firstly, as a non-physically challenged and secondly as physically challenged person. At first, he grew up as any ordinary young learner and talented sportsman at school. Christian religion was also part of his youth education. During his spare time he used to enjoy watching movies at the local cinemas and drawing with his close friend from school, Mário Tique. He was Sebastião’s idol in drawing and painting. When Sebastião was at high school, he used to be one of best learners in drawing and on sport. He was one of the best students in practising athletics and, playing basketball at their school. He was a member of the unique special class of the forty best basketball students - called 6th B - of the Maxaquene Secondary School (Escola Secundária da Maxaquene), in Maputo city. They were the students who represented the school during competitions enter-schools during the holidays, in Maputo city.

From 1981 until 1985, Sebastião became a member of one of the greatest clubs in Mozambique, the Costa do Sol Sports Club (Clube de Desportos da Costa do Sol). He practised athletics defending the colours of this club until just before his 18th birthday, in January 1985. This was the time Sebastião was diagnosed with a serious medical condition, which lead to him becoming partially paralysed. This was the turning point in Sebastião’s life from the non-physically challenged state to the “new”, the so-called “disabled” person. Since then, his life is not as in the past when he was in good health, because he has to walk with the aid of crutches.

In this context, with suggestion and encouragement of his teachers, friends, relatives and people who knew Sebastião’s talent in arts, he became an artist (painter). In 1988, he became a single father, but he did not marry the mother of his son because he was not accepted by the family due to his so-called “disability”. In 2001, after Sebastião have done three successfully solo exhibitions in 1997/98 and 1999 in south of Mozambique, he left Mozambique in order to enrol studies at University of the Western Cape. In 2003, while he was at University, in South Africa, he lost his dear mother due to tension (or hyper-high blood pressure).

The moment when Sebastião Matsinhe was graduating in
BA (Arts – September 2005).

In 2005 and in 2007, Sebastião Matsinhe graduated in BA and BA Honours in arts (Anthropology) by the University of the Western Cape, respectively. On the 27th May, 2008 Sebastião Matsinhe meets the South African icon Mr. Nelson Mandela in Maputo – Mozambique. Sebastião’s life still focuses on paintings in order to sustain his unique son’s studies and his because they never got bursary and art is his living today. These are but snippets of Sebastião Matsinhe’s formative years.