A Voortrekker Memorial in Revolutionary Maputo

A Voortrekker Memorial in Revolutionary Maputo

Author: 
Morton, David
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis Group
Date published: 
2015
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Journal of Southern African Studies (JSAS)
Source: 
Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 41, No. 2, April 2015, pp. 335-352
Abstract: 

On a side street of downtown Maputo, two blocks from a statue of Samora Machel, is a half-acre memorial to the ill-fated Trichardt party, which in the 1830s arrived at the Bay of Lourenço Marques after a years-long trek, only to be decimated by malaria. The memorial was inaugurated in 1968, one of countless memorials to Voortrekkers to be constructed since the 1930s, in parallel with the rise of Afrikaner nationalism, and the only one to be built outside the borders of South Africa. That the memorial kept its gates open after Mozambique's independence, and continued to be maintained at a time when apartheid South Africa sponsored Renamo and on several occasions attacked Mozambique directly - a time when Maputo was a city virtually under siege and falling into physical ruin - makes the memorial something more than a mere curiosity. This article tells the history of the memorial from its beginnings until today, with a focus on Mozambique's revolutionary era, and is based primarily on the archives of the Pretoria-based Louis Trichardt Association (which built and operated the memorial), and on interviews with members of the association and a former Frelimo minister. The story of the Louis Trichardt Garden of Remembrance after 1975 offers a kind of alternative history to the heated discussion of apartheid-era memorials in post-apartheid South Africa. Primarily, it offers a window on to Mozambique's long history of dependence on South Africa, a relationship that is often discussed in economic terms and with reference to labour migration, but less so for its other distorted consequences for everyday life: how, during the 1980s, for instance, South Africa and Mozambique were at war and at peace at the same time.

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CITATION: Morton, David. A Voortrekker Memorial in Revolutionary Maputo . : Taylor & Francis Group , 2015. Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 41, No. 2, April 2015, pp. 335-352 - Available at: http://library.au.int/voortrekker-memorial-revolutionary-maputo