On-line version ISSN 2309-9585
Print version ISSN 0259-0190
In late May 1975, Samora Machel crossed the Tanzanian border and began a month-long 'Triumphal Journey' down the whole length of Mozambique from north to south, finishing in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo). During the journey, he addressed crowds in the former liberated zones, as well as in urban centres such as Nampula, Quelimane and Beira, where Frelimo had had no public presence during the liberation struggle. A few days before national independence he made a lengthy speech in Portuguese to a large crowd in a football stadium in an outlying black suburb of Beira, Mozambique's second city. This speech ranged widely over such topics as colonial racism, economic exploitation, and the tasks of reconstruction that lay ahead. It was the first time that the population of Beira had seen the Frelimo leader, soon to be the country's first president. With no television stations, censored radio broadcasting, and only a few Portuguese-language newspapers with limited circulation, Frelimo needed to rely heavily on mass meetings and speeches to get its message across. This article breaks new ground in Mozambican studies by combining historical and socio-linguistic techniques to analyse an accurately reconstructed text of this particular speech, a recording of which is available online. It focuses on the historical context of Beira as a centre of colonial and settler resistance to FRELIMO's struggle, as well as the speech's content, its linguistic register and the rhetorical devices used to compel agreement and to persuade listeners of the correctness of Frelimo's political line.