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.

Project director:
  • Kohl, Christoph
1
Armed Conflict and Contested Memory | 2017

Kohl, Christoph (2017): Armed Conflict and Contested Memory. A Plea for a Fresh Start in the Politics of Memory in Mozambique, PRIF Report No. 148, Frankfurt/M.

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2
Bewaffneter Konflikt und umkämpfte Erinnerung | 2017

Kohl, Christoph (2017): Bewaffneter Konflikt und umkämpfte Erinnerung. Plädoyer für einen erinnerungspolitischen Neuanfang in Mosambik, HSFK-Report Nr. 5/2017, Frankfurt/M.

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3
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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Partners

Leibniz-Forschungsverbund Historische Authentizität
Leibniz-Forschungsverbund Historische Authentizität
http://www.leibniz-historische-authentizitaet.de/start/
Georg-Eckert-Institut – Leibniz-Institut für internationale Schulbuchforschung (GEI)
Georg-Eckert-Institut – Leibniz-Institut für internationale Schulbuchforschung (GEI)
http://www.gei.de/home.html
Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO)
Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO)
https://www.zmo.de/

Donors

Fritz Thyssen Foundation
Fritz Thyssen Foundation
www.fritz-thyssen-stiftung.de