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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Performing the past: celebrating Women's Day in northern Mozambique
Author:Santos, Ana MargaridaISNI
Year:2010
Periodical:Cahiers d'études africaines
Volume:50
Issue:197
Pages:217-234
Language:English
Geographic term:Mozambique
Subjects:memory
local history
politics
national liberation struggles
commemorations
2006
Abstract:The Mozambican liberation struggle (1964-1974), fought mostly in the province of Cabo Delgado, in northern Mozambique, became a part of the official history of Mozambique and of the memory and imagination of the country. It has been 33 years since independence, and large numbers of the population are now too young to remember how the war was fought. Consequently, re-creating the memory of the struggle has become an important part of the remembering, re-telling and passing on of national and local history to the younger generation. The representation of the past is appropriated by the ruling party of the State, which has excluded/silenced the alternative perspectives and experiences of all those who, while living in the province, did not take part in the struggle or fought against the Portuguese. This study is based on fieldwork conducted in Mozambique between 2005 and 2006, drawing in particular on participant observation of the celebrations of Women's Day on 7 April 2006, and interviews with former fighters (both male and female) of the liberation struggle, The article shows the importance of memory and of public celebrations in the maintenance and re-shaping of past events. The case of the Women's Day Celebrations highlights the symbolic representation of life in the bush in theatrical performance, and how the memory and work of Josina Machel, one of the most influential women during the liberation struggle and wife of Samora Machel, the future first Mozambican president, is presented in official rhetorics. The article also discusses identity references and ideas about gender equality, and in particular how those ideas impact on popular and political discourse, while they actually diverge from the real facts of local history. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract, edited]
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