Category Archives: Portugal

Permanent detention

António de Oliveira Salazar, the former Portuguese dictator, is not someone who I expected to come across in downtown Maputo. Following independence, most surviving monuments from the colonial period were stashed away at the old fort. But my friend John … Continue reading

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Letters from Macaloge

(Story began here. This is the second part.) Sometime in 1966, in Niassa, a Frelimo attack nearly wiped out a company of Portuguese troops. At least that’s what Valente Matsinhe’s commanding officer told him. Of one hundred men based at … Continue reading

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African soldier, Portuguese army

(This is Part I. Part II is here.) In Portuguese bookstores, history shelves sag with memoirs by Portuguese vets of the colonial wars in Africa. And in bookstores in Mozambique, the same space is reserved for memoirs by antigos combatentes, … Continue reading

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What Israel meant for Portuguese colonialism

In August 1961, a Portuguese agronomist named Raul Wahnon Correia Pinto made a work trip to Israel. “Visiting Israel gave us the sensation of enjoying the unique privilege of witnessing the creation of a world!” wrote Pinto in a report … Continue reading

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Vakani-Vakani

I’ve been back in Maputo for a few weeks now, much of it spent renewing old friendships, relearning the minibus routes, and hunting down bairro architects. But I felt like my real welcome came on Thursday, at the university, when … Continue reading

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Dangerous books

Portuguese pulp fiction, sadly, is often just a well-known American or English writer in translation. And a careful skim of O Santo e o mistério de Lisboa turned up no conclusive evidence that Leslie Charteris ever set foot in the … Continue reading

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Revolutionary force meets immovable object

Beginning in May 1975, Samora Machel and his entourage headed south through Mozambique on a triumphal tour of the country they were scheduled to take charge of on the 25 of June. Just before their arrival in Lourenço Marques for … Continue reading

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