University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > All POLIS Department Seminars and Events > 'It's Not My Story to Tell': Ownership, Legitimacy, and the Politics of History in Mocimboa da Praia, Mozambique

'It's Not My Story to Tell': Ownership, Legitimacy, and the Politics of History in Mocimboa da Praia, Mozambique

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The recent history of the northernmost districts of Mozambique has been one of movement and conflict leading people far from their areas of origin and into places where they have to rebuild networks and establish relationships. The Makonde moved from their original area in the Mueda Plateau to neighbouring districts and have to negotiate questions of legitimacy and belonging with the autochthonous population, the Mwani, seen as the ‘owners of the land’ and also the rightful bearers of the histories of the area. Recounting history – owning it – is loaded with references to identity, and weaves in memories and competing experiences of the past, and has a bearing on local struggles for political legitimacy. Drawing on literature on history and legitimacy and local understandings of ownership, I will discuss the importance of memory and story telling in the maintenance, and re-shaping of past events, and the different narratives that people create. I will discuss how the past is appropriated by different sectors of the population, and how it defines their belonging by claiming or refusing ownership of local histories.

This talk is part of the All POLIS Department Seminars and Events series.

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