In Western society, the concept of respecting one’s elders seems to have been abandoned. This is not the case in Ibo. As in many parts of the world, here, experience and age are valued. Joao Baptista is an example of this, known in the area for his youthful personality.
Joao Baptista was born in Ibo, on 23 June 1927, when Mozambique was still a Portuguese colony. Joao Baptista was one seven children born to a cook an a tailor. He remained at school until the age of 13, the longest amount of time permitted by the colonial administration. At the age of fourteen, he started working in government administration, whre he remained for his career. During the War of Independence (1962-1975), the fort of Ibo became a prison, and Joao Baptsita was held there for 24 hours, and has always remembered the words he read on its wall: ‘entra vivo, sal muerto’ – enter alive, leave dead.
He lived in various cities in Mozambique until his retirement. He then returned to the city of his birth, to the house where he was born.
He is an Ibo citizen through and through, with an amazing vitality that he uses when explaining the stories and anecdotes of the region to visitors. It is not suprising that he has the title ‘Ibo Historian and Adviser’ is written on his door.
Joao Baptista has nine children.