Remembering Political Founding Fathers: ‘Historical Authenticity’ in Politics and Memory Culture in Post-colonial Mozambique (cancelled)
In 2012, armed conflict resumed between the former civil war parties in Mozambique: FRELIMO (Frente de Libertação de Moçambique, Mozambique Liberation Front), the ruling party since the country’s independence in 1975, and RENAMO (Resistência Nacional Moçambicana, Mozambique National Resistance), the opposition party and former rebel movement. An armistice has been in place since December 2016, but a lasting solution to the conflict is still pending. In addition to political and economic causes, the dispute also has its roots in memory culture. With the conclusion of a peace treaty in 1992, the civil war between FRELIMO and RENAMO, which had been raging since 1977, was considered settled and Mozambique’s transformation into a pacified, somewhat free democracy accomplished. However, a coming-to-terms with the violent past has never taken place, and fundamentally contrasting memory cultures coexist in society side by side without ever having been negotiated.
Memory is thus highly contested in Mozambique. National history and the political founding fathers of independent statehood are appraised in different ways. Adherents of the two movements cultivate their own memories and narratives that they consider authentic, from which they not only raise claims in the present but also formulate visions for the future. Historical authenticity thus acts as a hinge between the past, present and future. For instance, while FRELIMO adherents praise socialist-egalitarian concepts of society and the struggle of their party against colonialism and apartheid, RENAMO affiliates rather focus on the revolt against the centrally planned economy, one-party rule and socialism. Memory culture of post-colonial Mozambique crystallises primarily in two political founding figures from the early stages of independence, Samora Machel (1933–86) and Eduardo Mondlane (1920–69). Both leaders shaped society, culture and the economy, and thus influenced Mozambique’s nation- and state-building process in a lasting way – but they also polarised the memories of this crucial period.
The project was meant to investigate the role of an integrative culture of remembrance for sustainable peaceful conflict resolution. It was developed in 2016/17 and earned a grant by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation for a period of two years. Since the responsible researcher left the scientific community at the beginning of 2019, this project will not be carried on as planned.
- Kohl, Christoph
- Zurückgekehrte Flüchtlinge und Lokalpolitik in Angola | 2017
Kohl, Christoph/Quiteque Inglês, Paulo/Melo, André/Schmidt, Sandra/Inhetveen, Katharina (2017): Zurückgekehrte Flüchtlinge und Lokalpolitik in Angola. Ein Forschungsbericht, in: Zeitschrift für Flüchtlingsforschung, 1:1, 106–123.
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