Simango, Gwenjere and the Politics of the Past in Mozambique

Simango, Gwenjere and the Politics of the Past in Mozambique

Author: 
Pearce, Justin
Place: 
Oxon
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis Group
Date published: 
2021
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Journal of Southern African Studies
Source: 
Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 47, No. 3, 2021, pp. 387-404
Abstract: 

The fractious history of Mozambique's anti-colonial movement remains politically charged, just as in other post-colonial states where opposition movements have challenged the ruling party's exclusive claim to the legacy of national liberation. This article examines the debates over the legacy of the former Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (Frelimo) vice-president Uria Simango and the Catholic priest Mateus Gwenjere, who continue to be denounced as traitors by the current Frelimo government, and of the protests against the Frelimo leadership by student exiles at the Mozambique Institute in Dar es Salaam in 1967-68. I argue that, for critics of the current government, the figures of Simango and Gwenjere represent a vision that is opposed to the direction taken by Frelimo after Simango was ousted from the leadership in 1969. The events surrounding the protests provide a basis for a narrative about the supposedly exclusive and undemocratic character of the current regime. As Frelimo remains entrenched in power through violence and patronage, the opposition contestation of the official history can be seen as an appeal for a more inclusive imagining of the nation, valorising historic Frelimo figures denigrated by the official version of history, while not challenging the centrality of Frelimo in Mozambique's liberation.

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CITATION: Pearce, Justin. Simango, Gwenjere and the Politics of the Past in Mozambique . Oxon : Taylor & Francis Group , 2021. Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 47, No. 3, 2021, pp. 387-404 - Available at: http://library.au.int/simango-gwenjere-and-politics-past-mozambique-0