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versão On-line ISSN 2309-9585
versão impressa ISSN 0259-0190

Kronos vol.39 no.1 Cape Town Jan. 2013




Uhuru na Kazi: recapturing MANU nationalism through the archive1



Joel Das Neves Tembe

History Department, University of Eduardo Mondlane and Director, Arquivo Histórico de Moçambique




This paper explores the history of the Mozambique African National Union (MANU) and of early nationalism in Mozambique, by providing an analysis of MANU discourse in 1961. Reading through MANU documents produced in 1961 and deposited in the Arquivo Histórico de Moçambique, I argue that MANU was neither exclusively constituted by Makonde nor was it in favour of a local or regional ethno-nationalism. While it was strongly represented by Makonde people, MANU also integrated the other ethnic groups of northern Mozambique - such as Yao, Nyanja and Makhuwa people - who were also working and living in different parts of Tanganyika, Zanzibar and Kenya. Defending the importance of national unity and accepting other ethnic groups beyond the Makonde, MANU wished to become a political party representative of all Mozambicans. The Union was also in favour of the participation of women in political struggle and it placed great importance on education. It was this vision that prompted MANU to join efforts with the Mozambican Democratic National Union (UDENAMO) and Independent Mozambique African Union (UNAMI), which merged to form the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO).




This paper endeavours to provide a frame for understanding the history of the Mozambique African National Union (MANU) and of early nationalism in Mozambique, by (re-)capturing MANU's narratives and by offering an analysis of its discourses in 1961. The study is part of a more extensive and ongoing research project on the Mozambican diaspora and nationalism, which seeks to understand the political dynamics of the three movements that came to constitute the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) on 25 June 1962 in Tanganyika - namely MANU, UDENAMO (Mozambique Democratic National Union) and UNAMI (Independent Mozambique African Union). The historiography of Mozambican nationalism has not paid much attention to the history of these political groupings. Their existence is only understood as part of the formation of FRELIMO and they are portrayed as regional movements or splinter groups that, because of leadership ambitions, would eventually form a coalition in opposition to FRELIMO.2

This article presents and discusses selected MANU documents produced in 1961, which are part of the archival material held at the Arquivo Histórico de Moçambique (Mozambique Historical Archive, AHM). Reading through MANU narratives, I argue that MANU was neither exclusively constituted by Makonde nor was it fighting for local, ethnic or regional forms of nationalism. While it was strongly represented by Makonde people, MANU also integrated other ethnic groups of northern Mozambique - such as Yao, Nyanja and Makhuwa people - who were also working and living in different parts of Tanganyika, Zanzibar and Kenya. More importantly, the documents show how MANU articulated a political discourse claiming for national unity. Defending the importance of national unity and accepting other ethnic groups beyond the Makonde, MANU wished to become a political party representative of all Mozambicans; its discourse against Portuguese colonialism was in favour of the liberation of Mozambique and not only of the Makonde territory. The Party was also in favour of the participation of women in the political struggle, as well as it placed great importance on education. Its vision of liberation, while still being immature, should not be regarded as merely confined to anti-colonial struggle; its proposals were envisioning some degree of social and political transformation.


Early Nationalism and MANU Historiography

The history of nationalism and liberation struggles in southern Africa and in Mozambique in particular has attracted a great deal of attention in the last two decades. International research institutions, archives, libraries, local academics, governments and particularly ruling parties have all engaged in this exercise of historical reconstruction. Focusing on the regional and international solidarity in the liberation struggle processes in southern Africa, the Hashim Mbita SADC History of Liberation project was launched in 2004, and generated various narratives, including those of the renegades, which provide new insights on nationalism and liberation struggles in the region. Parallel initiatives to capture new narratives and memories were also carried out by the Aluka Project and by the Nordic Documentation on the Liberation Struggle in Southern Africa Project, both launched in 2003.3

In Mozambique, the new political environment generated by the end of the civil war and the introduction of multiparty democracy in 1992 paved the way for the return of renegades, who engaged anew in political activity by establishing opposition parties. Freedom of expression was granted, enabling the press and the people to engage freely in discussions concerning Mozambican nationalism and its development, as well as to criticise patriotic and functional history and Frelimo's centralism. With the commemoration of FRELIMO's 50th anniversary in 2012, this debate has intensified and stimulated the revisiting of the history of nationalism and the liberation struggle. Furthermore, the proliferation of memoirs and the old rhetoric of patriotic history is being challenged by a growing sentiment of betrayal of the national bourgeoisie.4 This situation was anticipated by Aquino de Bragança and Jacques Depelchin, who, discussing the historiography of Frelimo, stressed that 'it is necessary to raise new questions. Still, these must be posed in a manner which encourages a study of the history of Frelimo, not as an unchangeable text, but as a contradictory process inserted in the social and national struggle of Mozambique'.5

While in Mozambique not much work is being published from local academics, some research is being carried out that collects new narratives concerning nationalism and the liberation struggle. For instance the AHM is collecting records and memories in collaboration with different national and international institutions engaged in writing the history of nationalism and liberation struggle in Mozambique and southern Africa.6 Recently, Ana Bouene Mussanhane has published a collection of interviews that portray the experiences of participants of different social backgrounds in the liberation struggle.7 With the exception of Lopes Tembe Ndelana, who wrote an autobiography that deals with the history of UDENAMO,8 very few of these narratives provide insights on the early history of UNAMI and MANU. The history of MANU is written in a very functional way, mostly in relation to the nationalist narrative of the Mueda massacre and the oppositional activities subsequent to the foundating of FRELIMO. A study by Luís de Brito discusses the challenges posed by the official historiography on the history of nationalism and the liberation struggle conducted by FRELIMO.9 More recently Eric Morier-Genoud raised some concerns on the current political developments in Mozambique, in particular on their influence on official history and commemorations and in the promotion of nationalism and its impact on the national imagined community.10

The history of early nationalism in Mozambique emphasises the role of the organic intellectuals in urban settings, the Protestant religious churches and the so-called African sects and rural protests against Portuguese repression, social injustice and marginalization of Africans. Mozambican organic intellectuals were behind the emergence of various associations, such as the Associação Africana, Grémio Africano, Centro Associativo dos Negros de Moçambique, Núcleo Negrófilo de Manica e Sofala, and Núcleo dos Estudantes Africanos Secundários de Moçambique (NESAM), among others.11 The members of NESAM were young black intellectuals who would play the role of bridging educated and illiterate African communities in southern Mozambique, cutting across across racial and ethnic divisions.12 However, in general these associations were established mainly in urban areas, with very little connections with rural communities. This is true for northern Mozambique and a great part of the central region of the country. The post-World War II period witnessed growing rural protest, as well as labour unrest among dockworkers. These protests were also followed by some arrests and deportation to agricultural plantations in São Tomé and Principe. In Cabo Delgado, a co-operative movement formed in 1957 among cotton cultivators - the Sociedade Agrícola Algodoeira Voluntária dos Africanos de Moçambique (SAAVAM) under the leadership of Lázaro Nkavandame and modelled on the Tanzanian associative movement - was used as means to politicise the peasants. This movement would be banned by Portuguese colonial authorities in 1959.13 Under these political circumstances, people in rural areas were forced to move to neighbouring countries, from where they came to express their political grievances through new proto-nationalist associations or political formations. An analytical study on the social history of the Mueda plateau in Cabo Delgado was conducted by a research team from the Centro de Estudos Africanos (CEA) at Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in the early 1980s.14 Based on fieldwork carried out in Cabo Delgado for his PhD thesis, Harry West discusses the local socio-political dynamics and the development of political consciousness among Makonde people across the Rovuma River and the impact of MANU political activities in the region.15

Studies on the Mozambican diaspora in southern Africa focus mainly on labour migration, especially on pull-and-push factors; on the social transformation in the sending rural areas; or on the financial contribution that migrants provided to the colonial government through revenues collected from the remittances of deferred payment. Generally speaking, the role played by the experience of migrant labour in the liberation struggle in Mozambique is not properly analysed. While several studies on nationalism have recognised the acceptance of new ideas and the formation of class consciousness by migrant labourers, their analysis is rather scant and marginal. The only exceptions are the studies conducted by Edward Alpers, Harry West, Olga Iglesias and my own work.16 Alpers's study is of crucial importance to understanding the history of northern Mozambican migrants who crossed the Rovuma River and went to Tanganyika, and their role in the formation of migrant associations, particularly MANU, regarded as one of the earliest anti-colonial movements.17 Contrary to UDENAMO, this organisation was successful in connecting with rural communities, particularly because of its ability in political mobilisation of rural communities across the border in northern Mozambique. In the 1990s Harry West was able to interview some labour migrants from Mueda, whose narratives touched on their experiences of working within proto-nationalists organisations, such as dancing clubs, football teams and burial associations throughout the sisal plantations in Tanganyika. My PhD has demonstrated how the Mozambican dias- pora in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) came to form UDENAMO in I960, which later, with MANU and UNAMI, merged to form FRELIMO on 25 June 1962.18 Olga Iglesias has produced a short essay based on PIDE archives, which provides some insights on MANU's political activities.19 She refers to the Mombasa meeting of 20 February of 1961, in which the party underlined the main objectives of its struggle. This study, however, reproduced the colonial discourse by Portuguese authorities, namely that MANU was a Makonde movement with strong tribalist sentiments.

The official historiography of nationalism has linked the history of MANU to that of the most celebrated anti-colonial event that happened in Mueda on 16 June 1960, when people under the leadership of Faustino Vanomba gathered to air their grievances before the local colonial administration. The main source for this historical narrative has been the testimony of Alberto Joaquim Chipande, first published in Mozambique Revolution and then reproduced in Eduardo Mondlane's Struggle for Mozambique.20 For Henriksen, MANU initially appeared as the União Makonde de Moçambique, an ethno-nationalist Makonde party; then 'members of this movement went on in 1961 to establish the Mozambique African National Union (MANU) in Mombasa, Kenya.'21 Munslow concurs with this perspective:

If any single day marks the end of an old and the beginning of a new era in the country's history, it was this [16 June 1960]. Six hundred people were killed at the massacre of Mueda in Cabo Delgado. It was a testament to the futility of peaceful rural resistance. One of the early proto-nationalist parties, the Makonde African National Union, was behind this mass peasant protest. It proved to the peasants that peaceful requests for reform would meet only with repression. It also threw a first challenge to the Mozambican nationalist movement to find a strategy to meet the violence and intransigence of the colonial power to any discussion of change.22

The social foundations of MANU can be understood with reference to the study by John Londsdale, who discusses the development of African associations and their importance for communicating nationalist ideas and cultivating a nationalist consciousness.23 As mentioned earlier, labour migration was a major trend in rural areas, where people resisted forced labour and forced cotton cultivation under conditions of hardship and low wages. People from Cabo Delgado could compare work in sisal plantations in Mozambique and in Tanganyika, which they found more attractive and better paid. Migration was also motivated by the quest for political freedom and access to modern developments, more easily available in Tanganyika than in the remote rural villages that lagged behind the main urban centres in northern Mozambique.24 Nonetheless, Ronald Chilcote mentions the existence of a native African political movement in Porto Amélia (now Pemba) capital city of Cabo Delgado, the União Mukana de Moçambique, active in early 1960s.25 His description of MANU, however, echoes the established narrative:

The Mozambique African National Union (MANU) stems from a social organization established by the Makonde tribe in northern Mocambique and in Tanganyika, called the Moçambique Makonde Union, which joined with other small groups to establish MANU in Mombasa, Kenya, in February 1961. It was supported by the Kenya African National Union and the Tanganyika African National Union. MANU moved its headquarters to Dar es Salaam, in late 1961, after joining with several groups in Tanganyika. Many of its members had been active in KANU and TANU until independence of Tanganyika, when there was an opportunity to establish a similar movement of Mozambicans.26

Barry Munslow describes this context as follow:

The Mozambique African National Union (MANU) was formed in 1961 in Mombasa, Kenya. This organization emerged from a coalition of smaller groups, the most important which was the Makonde African National Union. The Makonde people live on both sides of the Rovuma river which marks the border between Mozambique and Tanzania. That MANU was modeled upon the Kenya African National Union (KANU) and the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) is illustrated by the similarity in their acronyms. Indeed, it was a Kenya politician, C. Chockwe, who organised the movement's opening conference.27

This study does not properly discuss and analyse the internal dynamics of the political associations developed among Mozambicans in Tanganyika and Kenya, nor the social context of the emergence of the MANU leadership; overall, it gives the impression that Mozambican migrant workers hailed only from the Makonde people.

A study by Michel Cahen substantially challenges the established historiography of MANU and early nationalism in Cabo Delgado. Relying on Portuguese archives and undisclosed sources, Cahen contests the official accounts, which link the Mueda massacre of 16 June 1960 with MANU.28 Cahen describes the emergence of a Mozambican migrant community in Dar es Salaam and Tanga, and the subsequent rise of associations and their rivalries in the late 1950s. Cahen considers the associations in Dar es Salaam to be closer to TANU, while the one in Tanga was more authentic, in the sense that it was closely connected to the politics of Mueda. While Cahen recognises the importance of the Mueda massacre to raise the political consciousness of Makonde people and to shape their political ethnicity, he dissociates the political events that culminated in the massacre from MANU, arguing instead that the Mueda meetings were pioneered by the Mozambique African Association (MAA). Indeed, Cahen suggests that Faustino Vanomba and Quibirite Diwane represented the MAA-SAM (Mozambique African Association or Sociedade dos Africanos de Moçambique) from Tanga and not MANU, which was based in Dar es Salaam.29 Therefore, he saw no links between the Mozambique African Association of Tanga and the Makonde African Association later known as Makonde African National Union/Mozambique African National Union:30

In 1957 two separate groups appeared in Dar and Tanga. In Dar es Salaam, the Tanganyika Mozambique Makonde Union (TMMU) appeared - with Tiago Mula Mulombe as President, Joaquim Felix as Vice-President, Thomaz Nyayaula as Secretary, Faustino Vanomba as Treasurer - which on 21st October 1958 obtained its registration and had close ties with TANU (almost every TMMU founding member in Dar used to have the membership of TANU, called Cadi Chama Tanu). In Tanga, the Tanganyika Mozambique Makonde Association (TMMA) was born under the leadership of Kiribite Diwane. But TMMA failed to obtain its registration and then acted as a branch of TMMU in Tanga. However, a little later (at the end of 1958), F. Vanomba and Tangazi Makalika (another member of the board) were expelled from TMMU in Dar es Salaam, and K. Diwane in Tanga choose them instead of TMMU: they succeeded in remaining legally registered through a Mozambique African Association (MAA) in Tanga at the beginning of 1960, within an interesting context.31

Cahen develops a complex analysis of the social and political development of Mozambican associations scattered throughout Tanganyika, the Zanzibar and Pemba islands, and even Kenya. There were various mutual help groups and Mozambican clubs of migrant workers hailing from different ethnic groups in northern Mozambique, such as Nianja, Macua, Yao and Makonde. Dar es Salaam and Tanga were the main cities with a high presence of Mozambican workers in mainland Tanganyika, with Tanga claiming the bigger number of Makonde migrants. In Zanzibar there seems to have been some inter-ethnic co-existence through the 'Zanzibar Club' or ZMMU, the Zanzibar Makondes and Macuas Union. This cohabi- tation would not happen in continental Tanganyika until the creation of UDENAMO and FRELIMO. However, Cahen recognised that TMMU, later MANU, 'was moving away from Makonde mutualist clubism towards an implicit ethno-nationalism which permitted the official expression of a moderate but politicised nationalism - and obviously did not want any link with Portuguese consulates.'32

Although there were Christians and Muslims amongst Mozambicans who joined the TMMU movement and then MANU, there is no doubt that the main leadership based in Dar es Salaam and eventually in Tanga hailed from the Catholic Makonde group. In her PhD, Liazzat Bonate emphasises the participation of Mozambican Muslims in MANU activities, particularly through its branch in Zanzibar, which had a strong representation of Makhuwa people as well. Drawing from Portuguese intelligence archival sources, Bonate discusses the role of Muslims within Mozambican nationalism, with special reference to an important religious leader of northern Mozambique who eventually flew to Zanzibar to escape Portuguese persecution and political harassment in the early 1960s.33 Shaykh Yussuf Arabi is seen as the best illustration of the complexities of political dynamics of MANU and the connections with Muslims and the local political parties in Tanganyika and Zanzibar, respectively the TANU and the Afro-Shirazi Party. 34

In 1960, TMMU changed into the Mozambique African National Union (MANU) with the opposition of Faustino Vanomba's MAA-SAM. The same happened with members of the Zanzibar Makonde Mozambique Union who adopted the new designation becoming Z-MANU. 35 The transition from TMMU to the new MANU gave rise to new disputes for leadership between Félix Joaquim and Mathews Mmole (also Mateus Mole), who eventually became president with Lourenço (Lawrence) Malinga Millinga as secretary general.36 The following years were marked by disputes for membership amongst the two main factions of MANU and MAA, with MANU garnering more support from TANU and legitimating its representation of Mozambican diaspora in Tanganyika, including the Islands and Kenya. With the independence of Tanganyika in December 1961 and the arrival of UDENAMO in Dar es Salaam, political mobilisation intensified and MANU began to articulate a more inter-ethnic and unity nationalist discourse disputing Mozambican membership with the UDENAMO of Adelino Gwambe.

Furthermore, with the support of the Pan-Africanist Freedom Movement of East, Central and Southern Africa (PAFMECSA), heeding the appeals to unity coming from Julius Nyerere and Kwame Nkrumah, and under the influence of the Conferência das Organizações Nacionalistas das Colónias Portuguesas (Conference of Portuguese Colonies Nationalist Organisations, CONCP), the two groups were working towards the formation of a united front for the liberation of Mozambique. In this period the two political formations joined international conferences through the auspices of CONCP, of Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana and the PAFMECSA in Ethiopia, and as presented petitions to the United Nations Special Committee on Territories Under Portuguese Administration sitting in Dar es Salaam in 1961 and 1962. Nevertheless, UDENAMO was able to mobilise more MANU followers, especially in Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Morogoro, where they had become despondent with their leadership. Lopes Tembe refers to his trips in southern Tanganyika in the sisal plantations in Morogoro and Tanga, where, in collaboration with Mozambican migrants Mande (from Niassa) and Mutchequeche (from Mueda), he was able to mobilise many Mozambicans, mostly from Cabo Delgado and Niassa, to join UDENAMO.37

With the formation of FRELIMO on 25 June 1962 with Eduardo Mondlane as president, the future of the leadership of the two political formations was uncertain, as they failed to be elected to relevant positions on the executive board. This aspect and other contradictions might have been responsible for the split that followed and the regrouping in coalition fronts opposed to FRELIMO, first FUNIPAMO (1963) and then COREMO (1965). However, given MANU's greater degree of penetration in the interior of northern Mozambique, FRELIMO built on MANU networks to carry out activities of political mobilisation in Mozambique; despite some localised conflicts, Frelimo managed to relegate the activities of the opposition outside Mozambique, particularly at diplomatic level. After 1962, further conflicts developed in Zanzibar, where the former MANU Makonde supporters went into conflict with the Muslims against supporting FRELIMO, challenging President Eduardo Mondlane, who had married a white woman, and suspecting him of being a Portuguese spy. It was among these groups of Makonde dissidents that a new MANU was established in Mombasa by Mateus Mole had followers, while in Zanzibar a new Makonde Afro-Shirazi Union was also taking ground.38


Capturing MANU Nationalism in Mozambique

As mentioned earlier, with the opening of Portuguese intelligence archives in Portugal new sources generated by records of Portuguese police and security agencies became available for researchers, who have already contributed with new insights on contemporary history of nationalism in former Portuguese colonies. The above-mentioned works by Michel Cahen and Liazzat Bonate have explored these sources deeply and shed some light on the history of MANU. Security archives are always problematic, as they were mostly gathered through complex mechanisms using spies and sometimes interviews by coercion with prosecuted people. As a result, they have to be used carefully and to be checked against evidence gathered in interviews and or against other sources.

Under the current projects on the liberation struggle in Mozambique and in the region, the AHM is undergoing an appraisal process of archives on the liberation struggle enabling us to access some documents and particularly to (re-)capture MANU narratives. The following discussion is based on selected written sources produced by MANU in 1961. MANU records are mostly written in Swahili and a few in English.39 In fact, the organisation's official language seems to have been Swahili, at least in correspondence between branches and the headquarters and minutes and reports generated from meetings. The use of Swahili is justified not only because of its status as a lingua franca in Tanganyika, but also because organisation members with some degree of literacy had largely been schooled in Tanganyika, especially the youth whose political experiences had developed locally. In fact, as we have seen, the leadership of MANU executive board from 1960 was comprised by the second generation of the Mozambican diaspora who had been educated in local schools in Tanganyika. But it is also possible that the branch representatives and other members at lower ranks had been trained in the Madrasas among the Muslim community in northern Mozambique.

Records produced in 1961 show the efforts made by MANU for the mobilisation of membership of men, youth and women against Portuguese colonialism, forced labour and repression in northern Mozambique. MANU had about 9000 members or followers in Tanganyika. These records show how MANU received political and logistical support from TANU and the Tanganyika government for setting up organisational structures in different parts of Tanganyika, with regional and local branches representatives modelled on TANU experience. TANU's influence included the adoption of its moto (slogan) Uhuru na Kazi (Freedom and Work), for the purposes of mobilisation. With the arrival of UDENAMO in Tanganyika in early 1961, MANU not only competed for Mozambican membership but also collaborated to form a unique front to represent Mozambique in international forums. However, there were some conflicts between the two organisations in relation to the strategy for the struggle against Portuguese colonialism. MANU was in favour of a non-violent struggle, while Adelino Gwambe, President of UDENAMO, defended the launch of an armed struggle against Portuguese colonialism.

In 1962, MANU records reflects the efforts for consolidation of a political party and intensification of mobilisation of membership for unity and the struggle for independence with a new moto, Uhuru na Umoja (Independence and Unity); participation in international political forums; and collaboration with other parties, such as UDENAMO, towards the formation of the Mozambique Liberation Front. Such collaboration took place in May 1962 before MANU and UDENAMO were joined by UNAMI in June 1962.

The following are the main documents selected to reflect MANU political dynamics in the year of 1961.40

Document 1: Kumekucha Amkeni Msilale (The sun rose; wake up, don't sleep), 1961

Mozambican people sleeping in the warehouses and hidden in the corners of the city of Dar es Salaam are being harshly critiqued by the president of the MANU party, Mr. Mmole. The president said that they must wake up and

wear binoculars and control the Portuguese. They must also join TANU as well as MANU, and do not flee from paying the fees.

There is no reason to leave our country in the hands of Portuguese foreigners, and for us the owners [wenyewe] to come here to Tanganyika to enjoy its comforts, and to leave many good things of our land to be broken by the Portuguese.

Also there is no meaning to fill up Tanganyika, and we know the paths to go back to our land, and it is also a cause of concern to increase the burden of the Tanzanian people. My family, we must be united and chase out the government of the Portuguese.

The President, M. M. Mmole



Document 2: From 'These are the main tasks of MANU 20 October 1961

Old and young, men and women, in particular those who feel sorry for our brothers in Mozambique and Angola.

We are lucky, we Mozambicans living here in Tanganyika. Our luck is to say that we are in a country that hosts us like our instructor. Being in such a place, we saw with our own eyes the Tanganyikan asking for Independence in the first hour. We are certain that colonialism ceased to colonise Tanganyika.

We give a big thanks to the people of Tanganyika for the support that they gave us, the Mozambicans; for accepting to host us in their country in this moment in which we are suffering from humiliations from the Portuguese coloniser. We created our government in this country, even though we are guests and we do not have the same culture. We have our small portion of land that God gave us, with the name of Mozambique.

The Portuguese and other whites from other regions very much liked this small parcel of land, Mozambique.

We need to receive this good luck with open hands, and wish Tanganyika to have a good leadership and development, and to bless Tanganyika as if it were a gift to Africans before God Almighty.

We need to praise and thank Tanganyika for its humanitarian spirit, and to have helped us so much, as illustrated below:

1. [...] Many Mozambicans live in the large sisal plantations; despite the fact that this work is very hard, it is still better in relation to Mozambique;

2. Tanganyika helped us to fight for our rights in our country, despite the fact that we did not manage yet, because the Portuguese coloniser didn't feel sorry for us; [...]

4. We were received in such a way as to have a coordination with other countries from Central and Northern Africa, and to enter into the organisation PAFMECA, for the expulsion of the coloniser from Africa;

5. The government of Tanganyika is a brotherly government that understands our concerns and purposes. Just to cite one example, drawn from my own experience: it was the government of Tanganyika who helped me pursue my studies. This government managed to support me until they managed to have me carry out a study on local governance in Murogoro Mzumbe. Even after this, they did not cease to support MANU in claiming Human Rights.


I conclude by saying that I am ready to tell the truth to other nationalists, above all the necessity for the liberation of our country. But all of this will not happen without your contribution. It is very good if we are truly united. I pray for freedom of expression, of tasks, and of work.

Your secretary, Mmole,

The President.

Document 3: From MANU - Mkutano waliohuzuria (Meeting of the Committee of Secretariat), 29 October 1961, Chaired by M.M. Mmole

[...] The Portuguese began distributing pamphlets that tell histories of Africa. They say that they will not leave Mozambique, but they will leave.

The British had colonised Tanganyika, but they have gone and left the country with the owners. Mozambicans should encourage all efforts to achieve independence. To achieve our objectives we need to be united. Yesterday a white American visited the Committee; he wanted to know how many members we have. We provided the number of 9000 members.

These three documents make clear that the leadership of MANU was very conscious about the need to mobilise people and encourage their countrymen to be united and fight for their land in Mozambique. Mmole was also well informed about the political dynamics in Portuguese colonies, particularly Angola where people had experienced Portuguese massacres and had engaged in insurrections against the Portuguese government in Luanda and in rural sugar plantations. Being educated in governance, Mmole was also able to gain more insights from discussions within or with TANU programmes for Independent Tanganyika. With about nine thousand followers, MANU was confident to share the vision of liberation developed by TANU and to gain the advantages of PAFMECA political and logistical support. Calling upon other Mozambican nationalists, particularly UDENAMO, shows the importance of unity for the liberation struggle of Mozambique and the struggle for restoration of human rights and justice.

Document 4: From Mkutano: Uhuru na Kazi ('Meeting: Independence and Work'), Dar es Salaam, November 1961.

Opening by Chairman Saide Bin Mbwana:

Lots of suffering in Mozambique. Today I am very thankful for the great turnout in this regional branch. I do not have much to say. My idea is that yesterday I met Mr Lewis Sijaona, who saidhe had received information from His Excellency Julius Nyerere. We, TANU members need to be attentive to MANU activities. The best thing to do is to ask people from Mozambique what is the news from there. He [Nyerere] asked me, are there business companies in Mozambique? I answered, yes. My words say that we must be united. We need to help each other, so that we can have a single objective. Thus, we need to have many meetings with MANU. The time is near when MANU will be a strong government. In such a way, MANU will be a strong Party in the region of Tanganyika. [...]

Intervention by Dr. Ismaili Nantemo Ngozi, Secretary of the Newala District:

[...] Our struggle should be conducted with [membership] cards and not with machetes, but our unity is that which will help to build our fatherland and help to bring independence in Mozambique. The time of threats is over. We thank TANU for the support to MANU. It is imperative that all Africa be independent. For this, I suggest that our great office of Lindi should welcome and orient all of us who are part of the territory.

Intervention by Mrs Sifa:

I am here with other women that I have forced to support the meeting. Thus we understand that there should be Independence and Work ('Uhuru na Kazi').

Intervention by Vice-President Saide Kalomba:

Many thanks to all who attended the meeting. We want all women [to participate]. This is the time for unity. We should not leave this only for men. You women are all partners of our politics. You are responsible for inviting other women to join in. All women should be following what is happening around. The membership card should be withdrawn to anyone who says that this Party is of Makuas or Makondes.

[...] Unity is strength. As such, all we Mozambicans must be united, regardless of religion, age, sex and ethnicity. There must be mutual understanding amongst Mozambicans. We cannot fear aggressions; there needs to be mutual respect. We must unite with Tanganyikans in order to achieve our objectives.

The MANU party doesn't have an ethnicity. It is a national party. Anyone who says that this is a Makonde party will be withdrawn from the area. Our unity and strength will bring happiness to Mozambique. This person must be brought back to his or her land of origin. Uhuru na Kazi.

Intervention of Hasan Musa:

Once more, I plea for all the women to unite with us, so that we can be united, with the objective of building the country. We need to reinforce the building of MANU. Thus, the objective of MANU is to conquer our independence. Therefore we should not withdraw, because the Tanzanians will tease us and think that we only wanted to enrich ourselves. We should not belittle ourselves in such a way. We are all Africans and therefore there should be no racism. Therefore, let us all be united, Mozambicans and Tanzanians. Uhuru na Kazi









Document 5: From Moambi yangu ('my requests'), letter to Dar es Salaam Committee, 31 May 1961

For all leaders of MANU and youths:

We ask the authorisation from our leadership to open a school here in the Party headquarters, in order to learn to read and write in Portuguese. Another issue is that all Mozambicans must be united and work together to achieve what we want.

We would like to build the first school at the headquarters of the Party [in Dar es Salaam]. We would like the second school to be built at Magomene, the third should be in Keto, the fourth should be built in Kinondoni and the fifth in Nsasani. Each pupil should pay with two shillings at the beginning and 2 shillings for each month. This is the proposal to the Party members.

The professor should be paid one shilling. Mozambicans that live in Tanga, Dar es Salaam, Mombasa Zanzibar and other areas must stay united.

After the construction of these schools we have to indicate someone who will be in charge and who will control all the schools existing in Tanganyika. If we manage to achieve our goal we will be able to recuperate our youth and mothers [women] who do not know how to read and write.

It is all, I will wait for an answer

Mateus Pumupa Alipone

The two documents above demonstrate the importance of the solidarity between TANU and MANU as well as the continuous efforts in mobilising Mozambicans to unite and join the struggle for independence. It is clear from the documents that an open debate provided a space for different members to articulate a discourse of national unity and condemn tribalism, racism and other forms of exclusion according to religion, sex or age. The documents also emphasise the incorporation of women into the Union's activities and their importance to reinforce the unity for 'building our country. Unity was regarded as the key to strength. The Portuguese language was regarded as an important tool in the struggle and a source of unity, as the movement was planning to build schools where classes could be conducted in Portuguese. It would be an interesting point for further research to ascertain whether this intention was carried through, and to see to what extent MANU managed to implement this desire from its members in Tanganyika. In fact, education was very important to the development of a nationalist project and for imagining a new nation. A similar experience was developed among the Mozambican diaspora in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia by Uria Simango who in the early 1960s established night classes in Portuguese for Mozambicans in addition to Christian activities. Simango stressed the importance of learning Portuguese as a language of unity and taught at night in a small room rented from the Salvation Army following the Portuguese curricula from first to fourth levels.41





Document 6: From MANU iwe macho ili kulinda heshima ya Tanganyika na Mozambique iwe Salaam ('MANU should have a vision that leads Tanganyika to respect it and Mozambique to be in peace'), 1961

[...] My friends, despite the fact that I am so faraway, because of many matters that I will not cease talking; for this I expound here my words:

1. Mr Gwambe should remember that Independence is not war. People who want Independence do not demand war. The meaning of Independence in few words is, the owners [donos, mwenyewe] should govern. Just imagine, how can people ask for independence while they are dying. MANU wants Independence but not deaths;

2. We should remember that PAFMECA is the African Union which demands independence, we cannot ask for support in military material, while we demand independence. Independence should be requested verbally and the money provided should not be used to buy military equipment. The war will bring great setbacks;

3. It could be a wrong idea if His Excellency Kwame Nkrumah provides help in terms of military material, which will be a great danger for Mozambique, since Ghana is a member of PAFMECA. PAFMECA is not an union that promotes wars. If Mr. Gwambe does not manage to demand Independence by pacific means is better for him to go back to Mozambique;

4. I do not see until today the reason why Mr. Gwambe is continuing to stay here in Tanganyika, because he can create the conditions for the destruction of Africa. What I think together with the members of MANU that we should not host people who contribute to foster war in Mozambique. Moreover, Tanganyika is not a workshop that creates the conditions for a war against the Portuguese in Mozambique and to destroy the good unity amongst Africans.

5. I conclude by saying that I am of the opinion that the Committee should submit this issue to His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs [Kambona] with the greatest urgency President of the Counsel of the members of the Coordination for Freedom,

M. M. Mmole

This final document reflects the conflicts and suspicions that the leadership of MANU had against Adelino Gwambe, the leader of UDENAMO. In general Gwambe was not trusted by Julius Nyerere, although he had good and strong support by Kwame Nkrumah and international political exposure. In fact, Gwambe was expelled from Tanganyika and accused of being a naïve person who by declaring the war against Portugal from Tanganyika would damage to the nationalist movements and endanger the security of Tanganyikan. Although Gwambe had tried to move the headquarters of UDENAMO to Somalia, this never happened, on account of the opposition by other senior members of UDENAMO. The statements above show that MANU was not in favour of war, but for a struggle conducted by nonviolent means. It is not clear whether MANU held on to this position, or whether it subsequently moved away from it; later on some former members of MANU seem to have joined UDENAMO because it had more a determined leadership.

In conclusion, by reading such documents I endeavoured to enrich the discussion concerning the role of MANU in the development of nationalist movements. The documents demonstrate that MANU sowed the seeds of nationalism in Mozambique: far from being a merely regional movement, it built a political party endowed with a vision for national liberation.



1 A first version of this paper was presented at the workshop Não Vamos Esquecer? Dialogues on Mozambican History, Cape Town, University of the Western Cape, 15 August 2012. I would like to thank Paolo Israel for editorial support. Uhuru na Kazi was a TANU slogan after independence and now used as a moto (mobilizing slogan) for the quest for independence in Mozambique.
2 For further discussion see M. Cahen, 'Anticolonialism & Nationalism: Deconstructing Synonymy, Investigating Historical Processes. Notes on the Heterogeneity of former African Colonial Portuguese Areas', in Sure Road? Nationalisms in Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique, ed., Eric Morrier-Genoud (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012), 23-24.
3 See respectively Aluka Digital Library 'Struggles for Freedom', see; and, accessed 27 November 2013.
4 Jason Sumich discusses post-independence political transformations and Frelimo's ideology of nationalism and how the elites strengthened their power and claimed the legitimacy of occupying positions of status and power because they created the nation and they saw themselves as the only ones with the ability to bring forth a better future for Mozambique, 'An Imaginary Nation: Nationalism, Ideology and the Mozambican National Elite' in Morier-Genoud, ed., Sure Road?, 129-132.
5 A. de Bragança and J. Depelchin, 'Da Idealização da Frelimo à Compreensão da História de Moçambique', Estudos Moçambicanos. 5/6. (1986), 29-52. See also Victor Igrejas discussion of the political ambivalence of Frelimo's authority in post-colonial Mozambique, 'Frelimo's Political Ruling through Violence and Memory in postcolonial Mozambique', Journal of Southern African Studies, 36, 4 (2010), 781-799.
6 Since 2008 the AHM and the Ministry of Combatants are engaged in preparing the publication of three volumes on the history of the liberation struggle in Mozambique. The first volume, which includes the history of formation of FRELIMO and the pioneering political formations, will be launched this year.
7 A. Bouene Mussanhane, Protagonistas da Luta de Libertação Nacional (Maputo: Marimbique, 2012).
8 L. Tembe Ndelana, Da Udenamo à Frelimo e à Diplomacia Moçambicana (Maputo, Marimbique: 2012). The author is a retired ambassador of Mozambique. He was a member of UDENAMO since its foundation in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in 1960; later, he became an active militant and guerrilla fighter within FRELIMO.
9 L. de Brito, Le FRELIMO et la Construction de l'Etat National au Mozambique. Les Sens de la Référence (1962-1983) (PhD Thesis, Paris: Université de Paris 8, 1991).
10 E. Morier-Genoud, 'Introduction: Thinking about Nationalisms and Nations in Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique', in Morier-Genoud ed., Sure Road?, xiii-xxv.
11 I. Casimiro, 'Movimento associativo estudantil NESAM e AMM." In: Castelo, Claudia et al, eds, Os Outros da Colonização: Ensaios sobre o Colonialismo tardio em Moçambique. (Lisboa: ICS, 2012): 117-134; B. Munslow, Mozambique: the Revolution and its Origins (London: Longman, 1983); T. Henriksen, Revolution and Counterrevolution: Mozambique's War of Independence, 1964-1974 (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1983).
12 See especially Munslow, Mozambique: The Revolution, 66.
13 Ibid., 71.
14 Y. Adam, 'Mueda 1917-1990: Resistência, Colonialismo, Libertação e Desenvolvimento', Arquivo. Boletim Do Arquivo Histórico De Moçambique, special issue Cabo Delgado, 14 (1993), 4-102; Y. Adam and A.-M. Gentili, 'O Movimento dos Liguilanilu no Planalto de Mueda, 1957-1962', Estudos Moçambicanos. No.4 (1983), 41-75; A.M. Gentili, 'A subversão no Distrito de Cabo Delgado Entre 1950 e 1960 Segundo as Fontes Administrativas Locais', Arquivo. Boletim Do Arquivo Histórico De Moçambique, special issue Cabo Delgado, 14 (1993), 103-16.
15 H. G. West, 'Sorcery of Construction and Sorcery of Ruin: Power and Ambivalence on the Mueda plateau, Mozambique (18821994)' (PhD Thesis: University of Wisconsin, 1993); Kupilikula: Governance and the Invisible Realm in Mozambique (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2005).
16 See also J. Cabaço, Moçambique: Identidades, Colonialismo e Libertação (Maputo: Marimbique, 2010).
17 E. Alpers, 'To Seek a Better Life: The Implication of Migration from Mozambique to Tanganyika for Class Transformation and Political Behavior, Canadian Journal of African Studies. 18, 2 (1984), 367-388.
18 J. M. das Neves, 'Economy, Society and Labour Migration in Central Mozambique: A case Study of Manica Province, 1930. ca 1965' (PhD Thesis, SOAS: University of London, 1998), Chapter 9 and 10. See also J. das Neves Tembe, 'Diaspora and Nationalism: A look on Mozambican experiences in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), 1950-1960s', Orenga: The Politics of Nations and Nationalisms in Lusophone Africa, Conference, Oxford University, 2007, 1-11.
19 O. Iglesias, 'O Nacionalismo em Moçambique: o Surgimento dos Movimentos de Libertação', Paper presented at IV Reunião Internacional de História de África: África e Dinâmicas Coloniais. Maputo, 10 September 2004.
20 A. J. Chipande, 'The Massacre of Mueda', Mozambique Revolution. Dar es Salaam. (April - June 1970),7; E. Mondlane, The Struggle for Mozambique. (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969), 118-20.
21 Munslow, Mozambique, 19.         [ Links ]
22 Ibid., 71.
23 J. M. Lonsdale, 'Some Origins of Nationalism in East Africa, Journal of African History 9, 1 (1968), 119-146.
24 Alpers, 'To Seek a Better Life'; Gentili, 'A Subversão'.
25 R. Chilcote, Emerging Nationalism in Portuguese Africa: Documents (Stanford: Hoover Institution Publications, 1972), 610.
26 Ibid., 608.
27 Munslow, Mozambique, 79-80.
28 M. Cahen, 'The Mueda Case and Maconde Political Ethnicity: Some Notes on a Work in Progress', Africana Studia, 2 (2000), 29-46.
29 Ibid., 37-41.
30 However, Adam refers to both members of MANU and AMM/MAA participating in the meetings and demonstrations of June 1960 in Mueda, 'Mueda', 27. Feliciano Sangolo Lipinde, a Makonde former migrant labour from Cabo Delgado in Tanganyika from 1950 and militant of TANU, recalled those events since the early days of formation of TANU in 1954 and the inception of the Tanganyika Mozambique Makonde Union/Association (TMMU) in 1958 with great inspiration and support from Julius Nyerere, interview with author, Boane, 26 September 2013. Although the nucleus of the Association was composed by Makonde, who were the majority of migrants, the TMMU was open for membership to all Mozambicans. Sangolo Lipinde also recalls that in 1960 Vanomba broke away from this association and went on to establish or join the Mozambique African Association (MAA/ SAM), eventually with Kibirite Diwane, also referred to as Quibirite Diwane or Matias Chibiliti Waduvani in Tanga, as alluded by Cahen ('The Mueda Case', 34), and entered Mozambique anticipating the Mueda events of 16 June 1960. See also E. J. Mpalume, Massacre de Mueda; 50 anos depois (Pemba: ARPAC, 2010).
31 Ibid, 34. In Cahen's paper, sources of information are not disclosed. My interviewee Sangolo-Lipinde, who claims to be a founder of TMMU, does not appear in the group mentioned by Cahen. He confirms that Faustino Vanomba was member of the board as treasurer and responsible for administrative affairs. In the work of Yussuf Adam, Songolopinda [Sangolo-lipinde] is referred as one of founding members based in Dar es Salaam with Félix Joaquim while Faustino Vanomba and Kibirite Diwane were described as active in Tanga, see 'Mueda', 25. However, Adam presumes that Songolopinda was considered inept to be the president of MANU due to his disability in one eye [sic], Ibid, 27. While his disability can be confirmed, this statement is in need of clarification.
32 Cahen, 'The Mueda Case', 35.
33 L. Bonate, 'Traditions and Transitions: Islam and Chiefship in Northern Mozambique, ca. 1850 - 1974' (PhD diss., SOAS, 2007), 202-228.
34 The account on Shaykh Yussuf Arabi by Bonate was drawn from the Portuguese Archives, 'Relatório das Conversações havidas em Porto Amélia, de 1 de Junho de 1964 a 7 de Junho de 1964, entre um dos adjuntos dos SCII e Yussuf Árabe, in SCCIM, Cx 60, No 408, IAN -TT.
35 Cahen, 'The Mueda Case', 38
36 Both Mmole and Millinga were born in Tanganyika and represented the second generation educated in the Anglophone and Swahili social milieu emerging as political nationalists influenced by the local political transformations under TANU of Julius Nyerere. Millinga had also been a labour union leader in the labour movements of Kenya, Tanganyika, and Uganda, among the dockworkers in Mombasa and cotton workers in Uganda.
37 Tembe Ndelana, Da Udenamo a Frelimo,48-49.
38 Bonate, 'Traditions and Transitions', 212.
39 Records used in this paper were translated from Swahili into Portuguese by Davety Mpiuka, linguist and junior lecturer at Eduardo Mondlane University.
40 Editor's note (Paolo Israel): The author provided the complete Portuguese translation and the scans of the original Kiswahili documents, which are kept in the Mozambique Historical Archives as part of the Frelimo archive, the access to which is restricted. What follows is a generous selection from these documents. For what I could gauge, the translation is faithful, even though not always very close. I have revised the translation of the first document with the help of Mateo Kayanja.
41 See my interview with João Rampi (who was one of the 24 students amongst youth and adults) and collective interview in Mbare, Harare, January 1998. See also the chapter, 'Trade Unionism, Mozambican Associations and Nationalism, 1950s -1962', in Neves, Economy, Society, especially 307.

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