Tag Archives: war for independence

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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Wood and zinc

In my last post, I mentioned the wood-frame, zinc-paneled homes that one finds scattered throughout Xipamanine, relics of a time when such a home was for African families the upper limit of luxury. You can find dozens of wood-and-zinc houses … Continue reading

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“X is like imperialism”

The military junta that ruled Greece beginning in 1967 banned the Beatles, miniskirts, and the letter Z. (At least according to this movie.) Z was shorthand for the word zei—“he lives”— a pithy slogan of resistance that recalled the memory … Continue reading

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Mondlane was an Indians fan

In 2009, I attended a conference in Maputo marking the fortieth anniversary of the death of Eduardo Mondlane, the founding president of Frelimo, Mozambique’s independence movement. I greeted Janet Mondlane, his widow, an American who grew up in Illinois. Eduardo … Continue reading

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Portugal big and small

Here’s some pretty striking 60s-era propaganda I recently came across in the archives: Translation: “Mozambique is only Mozambique because it’s Portugal.” Confused?

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