Age of Concrete is about people building homes on tenuous ground in the outer neighborhoods of Maputo, Mozambique, places thought of simply as slums. But up close, they are an archive: houses of reeds, wood, zinc, and concrete embodying the ambitions of people who built their own largest investment and greatest bequest to the future.
In articles for the newspaper O Brado Africano in the mid-1950s, poet and journalist José Craveirinha described the ways in which the Mozambican football players in the suburbs of Lourenço Marques (now Maputo) adapted the European sport to their own expressive ends. Through gesture, footwork, and patois, they used what Craveirinha termed “malice”—or cunning—to negotiate their places in the colonial state.
The helmet-shaped mapiko masks of Mozambique have garnered admiration from African art scholars and collectors alike, due to their striking aesthetics and their grotesque allure. This book restores to mapiko its historic and artistic context, charting in detail the transformations of this masquerading tradition throughout the twentieth century.
Dams, Displacement, and the Delusion of Development
Cahora Bassa and Its Legacies in Mozambique, 1965–2007
By Allen F. Isaacman and Barbara S. Isaacman
This in-depth study of the Zambezi River Valley examines the dominant developmentalist narrative that has surrounded the Cahora Bassa Dam, chronicles the continual violence that has accompanied its existence, and gives voice to previously unheard narratives of forced labor, displacement, and historical and contemporary life in the dam’s shadow.
Confronting Leviathan describes Mozambique’s attempt to construct a socialist society in one African country on the back of an anti-colonial struggle for national independence. In explaining the failure of this effort the authors suggest reasons why the socialist vision of the ruling party, Frelimo, lacked resonance with Mozambican society. They also document in detail South Africa’s attempts to destabilize the country, even to the extent of sponsoring the Renamo insurgents.