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Abstract

The author, speaking as a Mozambican researcher living and working in Portugal, examines the different types of knowledge about the history of the colonial relationship and the independence movement produced in the two countries. The colonial project entailed the construction of (at least) two divergent narratives on the meanings of the Portuguese presence in Mozambique, narratives that render difficult any possibility of mutual recognition. Colonialism involved much forgetting and silencing; the dominant Eurocentric perspective on colonial history needs to be questioned and problematized. This is not contradictory with a critical questioning of the official post-colonial narrative of the independent Mozambican state, whose nationbuilding function caused it to silence the diversity of memories generated by the interaction between colonizers and colonized and to justify the repression of those who questioned the official version of history. Public narratives, official or otherwise, that construct or reconstruct memories are inevitably in competition with each other and reflect power relations. But the full plurality of memory does not receive public attention; it must be dug out by activist researchers who are able to distinguish subject and object and to produce knowledge in full understanding of the complex relations created by historical legacies.

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