Literatura e Outras Artes

Construção da Memória em Angola e Moçambique

by Ineke Phaf-Rheinberger (Volume editor) Ana Sobral (Volume editor) Selma Pantoja (Volume editor)
©2017 Edited Collection 233 Pages


Os ensaios neste livro conduzem o leitor através dos tópicos cruciais do pós-colonialismo de Angola e Moçambique, como refletidos nas suas literaturas, cinema, música e artes. O passado, na forma das tradições esquecidas / redescobertas ou da guerra, continua formando as maneiras nas quais estas nações articulam e negociam suas identidades. Enfatiza-se a cena particularmente vibrante de Luanda e, ademais, dedica-se atenção (à falta de) às traduções dos textos portugueses noutras línguas.

Table Of Contents

  • Cobertura
  • Título
  • Copyright
  • Sobre o autor
  • Sobre o livro
  • Este eBook pode ser citado
  • Sprachen – Literaturen – Kulturen Aachener Beiträge zur Romania
  • Conteúdo /Contents
  • Introduction (Ineke Phaf-Rheinberger / Ana Sobral)
  • Nascer com a Nação (Ana Mafalda Leite)
  • Angola
  • Dois memoráveis acontecimentos: Luuanda, 50 anos e a Independência de Angola, 40 anos (Laura Padilha)
  • Língua Portuguesa em Angola: Um fantasma que se humanizou (Amélia Mingas)
  • Expressões da bantulusofonia econo-cultural em Angola (José Luís Mendonça)
  • A viagem ao “outro” na literatura de Ruy Duarte de Carvalho (Christian Fischgold)
  • Imagens e escritas da nação pós-colonial: literatura e cinema em Angola (Marinei Almeida)
  • Aesthetic Nostalgia: Constructing Memories through Contemporary Art in Post-Socialist Angola (Nadine Siegert)
  • Trenches of the Mind: Rap Music in Angola and the (Re-)Construction of National Identity (Ana Sobral)
  • Moçambique
  • Ngewenya, o Crocodilo: uma viagem interartística pela vida e obra de Malangatana Valente (Carmen Lucia Tindó Ribeiro Secco)
  • A (re)construção identitária „entre as memórias silenciadas“ de Ba Ka Khosa (Rosilda Alves Bezerra / Zuleida Duarte)
  • Entre o fantástico e o real: a representação de uma nação (Lisângela Daniele Peruzzo)
  • The Mozambican Ghost Story: A Modern Genre (Peter Maurits)
  • Traduções e Política Cultural
  • Descobrir Angola. A história de Angola reflectida na sua literatura. Um livro de leitura (Barbara Mesquita)
  • José Luís Mendonça and the Journal Cultura. A Critical Debate (Ineke Phaf-Rheinberger)

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Roughly 40 years after attaining independence from Portuguese colonial rule, Angola and Mozambique have built a vibrant, multi-layered cultural scene in which the past continues to interact with the present. It is to this complex relationship between past, present and future, between history and memory, that this edited volume dedicates a series of articles and reflections.

The national identities of both Lusophone African countries have been profoundly marked by a long anti-colonial resistance struggle that culminated in the attainment of independence in 1975. In both countries, this was followed by the establishment of socialist governments and the outset of a protracted civil war – lasting until 1992 in Mozambique, and 2002 in Angola – which many saw as part of the Cold War’s proxy conflicts in Africa. The population was divided into different camps and did not have the political tools for negotiating power relations other than with arms. These wars completely destroyed villages, cities and entire regions, hampered the economy and left a deep imprint on the memories of Angolans and Mozambicans. With the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, both Angola and Mozambique’s regimes adopted more democratic structures, although political tensions can still be acutely felt.

Such a cursory overview of major developments, attainments and upheavals cannot do justice to the rich cultural output both young nations experienced, in spite of their many hardships. Indeed, we can observe a lively interest in cultural production, as the activities of the Writers Union in Angola (UEA) and the Association of Mozambican Writers (AEMO) in Maputo, among others, demonstrate. These organizations do far more than limiting themselves to literature, extending their outreach also to other artistic media. In fact, they were instrumental in promoting new talents. The „audacious young poets of Angola and Mozambique“1, as Russell Hamilton called them, who began publishing in the 1980s, were the trailblazers of a growing and diverse cultural production of the subsequent decades. This involved not only poetry but also novels and short stories, music, cinema and the fine arts. From the essays in this book, it is possible to get an impression of these developments. ← 11 | 12 →

Ana Mafalda Leite starts by outlining the importance of emphasizing postcolonial tendencies in literary works published in Lusophone Africa in the last decades. In collaboration with colleagues at the Faculty of Letters of Lisbon University and elsewhere, she presents some results of her research project, which looks not only at Angola and Mozambique, but also at Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and São Tomé and Príncipe. This overview serves as an introduction of sorts to the more specialized essays that follow, each one of them exploring a specific theme related to concrete case studies in Angola and Mozambique.

Starting with Angola, Laura Padilha’s contribution describes the creative context in which the three short stories of Luandino Vieira, included in the volume, Luuanda2, were written. She discusses the author’s letters to his editor upon leaving Luanda to the Tarrafal prison on the island of Santiago in Cape Verde. Vieira, one of the most distinguished authors from Angola, considered himself a freedom fighter, using the pen as his weapon. Amélia Mingas from the University Agostinho Neto even stated that Vieira „revolutionized“ literature when his book came out in 1964, painting a vivid picture of the language and the characters who lived in the musseques, the slums of Luanda3.

Mingas is also represented in this book with an essay, in which she describes the difficulties of coping with the heritage of the Portuguese language in a country in which this language is often still perceived as imposed. The pronunciations or accents of European Portuguese differ significantly from the rhythms of Angola’s indigenous languages. This distinction produces variants of a spoken Portuguese that are quite distinct from the official version of European Portuguese. According to Mingas, this is the case in all the African countries of the Portuguese-speaking world. José Luís Mendonça goes even further, discovering new word-combinations of Portuguese with the Bantu-languages in Angola. He points to the differences of this portungolano within the horizon of the Bantulusophone world.

Christian Fischgold focuses on another approach to this diversity and writes about the attempts of Ruy Duarte de Carvalho to give insights into „other“ people in Angola itself, the people in the southern part of the country, who live from their live stock farming and have specific myths and legends. Carvalho applies different ethnographic and technological methods, experimenting with ethnographic cinema and documentaries to zoom into the emotions and perceptions of those „marginal“ people to urban society. Carvalho has also written an important ← 12 | 13 → dissertation entitled Ana a Manda. Os filhos da rede (Ana a Manda, The sons of the web)4 on the inhabitants of the island in front of Luanda, the axiluanda, and on the fishermen who have had a very specific organizational network since the beginnings of Portuguese colonization.

Luanda, without a doubt, is central in the subsequent essays. Marinei Almeida analyzes the interaction between the film O héroi (2004) by Zézé Gamboa, one of Luanda’s foremost filmmakers, and the novel Um anel na areia (A ring in the sand) by Manuel Rui. Both are very well known in Angola’s cultural scene today. These works discuss the civil war situation and its traumatic consequences for many people, such as mutilation, stress, lack of perspectives. The postcolonial reality in Luanda is far from what the utopian perspectives of the anticolonial struggle expected it to be. This disillusionment can in fact be found in the literatures of both countries, Angola and Mozambique.

Notwithstanding, and maybe because of that, Nadine Siegert and Ana Sobral describe Luanda’s fulminant scene of contemporary art and popular music and the emergence of critical attitudes among a generation of young people who demand a quicker change of attitudes and contemporary political problems. The artists find an outlet in the Luanda Triennial, organized since 2006, and already with a high profile status in Africa. Siegert gives a short overview of the different generations of visual artists in the last forty years. Ana Sobral, meanwhile, draws a parallel between the importance of semba music in the 1960s and rap music today. Both musical trends are rooted in the identities and experiences of the people who live in the musseques, in the poor neighborhoods, a magnet for migrants from the rural areas and a place in which political stagnation and precarious living conditions are most felt.

In Mozambique, we do not find an equally vibrant metropolis as Luanda. This is also reflected in the essays. They concentrate more on narrative traditions and oral literature in the countryside, in which many languages and ethnic ascriptions are still vividly alive.

Carmen Secco tells the story of a film about the painter Malangatana Valente, directed by Isabel Noronga, a friend of his daughter. Noronga goes back with him to the territory of his ancestors, the Ngwenya, the crocodile-people. The essay by Rosila Bezerra and Zuleide Duarte also turns to the past, in this case to silenced memories, outlaid by the author Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa – who together ← 13 | 14 → with Mia Couto won the National Prize for Literature in Mozambique in 1992. It goes without saying that the essays dealing with Mozambique always mention the name of Mia Couto, internationally the best-known author from this country. Lisângela Peruzzo describes the discrepancies between the fantastic and the real in three of his novels, whereas Peter Maurits explains a new way of interpretation, incorporating these discrepancies into the genre of ghost stories.

Finally, in an essay that looks at Lusophone literatures as perceived and received in the German-speaking world, Barbara Mesquita emphasizes the important process of providing translations of the literatures of Angola and Mozambique and the scarce attention paid to it in the German press. This absence was so obvious that in an interview conducted by the Angolan critic António Quino with Phaf-Rheinberger, he chose the title „Angolan literature does not exist in Germany“ for the publication5. Mesquita, a recognized translator herself, presents her anthology Angola Entdecken, which came out in 2015. Interestingly, in contrast to Angola, there are quite a number of translations of writers from Mozambique into German, among which several novels of Mia Couto and Paulina Chiziane.

Together these essays guide the reader through key topics in postcolonial Angola and Mozambique, as they are reflected in these countries’ literatures, cinema, music and art. In all of them we find that the past, whether in the form of forgotten/rediscovered traditions or scars and ruins from the war, continues to shape the ways in which these nations articulate and negotiate their identities.

Preliminary versions of these essays were presented at the 11th German Lusitanisten-Congress, „O mundo lusófono em movimento – revoluções e transformações“, that took place in Aachen, Germany, 16–19 September 2015, under the guidance of Anne Begenat-Neuschäfer. Thanks to her commitment, it was possible to invite Amélia Mingas and José Luís Mendonça from Angola, and Selma Pantoja (Universidade Brasília) and Tania Macêdo (USP) from Brazil. She also planned to write a preface to this book, outlining her efforts to establish African-Portuguese literatures in the Romance Language Studies Programs in Germany. Sadly, Anne passed away quite unexpectedly on March 3, 2017. This is a considerable loss and, to commemorate her determination and her warm personality, we dedicate this book to her memory.

Ineke Phaf-Rheinberger & Ana Sobral ← 14 | 15 →


Carvalho, Ruy Duarte de: Ana a Manda. Os filhos da rede. Identidade colectiva, criatividade social e produção da diferença cultural: um caso muxiluanda, Lisbon: Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical, 1989.

Hamilton, Russel G.: „The Audacious Young Poets of Angola and Mozambique“, Research of African Literature, 26/1, special issue ‚New Voices in African Literatures‘ (Spring 1995), pp. 85–96.

Mendonça, José Luís: „Luuanda – 1964/2014. Catana literária contra o colonialismo“, Cultura, 3/70 (11–12/ 2014), pp. 3–5.

Quino, António: „Ineke Phaf-Rheinberger. Literatura angolana não existe na Alemanha“, Cultura, 1/19 (12/2012), pp. 25–27.

Vieira, Luandino: Luuanda, Luanda: Oficinas Gráficas ABC, 1964. ← 15 | 16 →

1 Hamilton, Russell G.: „The Audacious Young Poets of Angola and Mozambique“, Research of African Literature, 26/1, special issue ‚New Voices in African Literatures‘ (Spring 1995), pp. 85–96.

2 Vieira, Luandino: Luuanda, Luanda: Oficinas Gráficas ABC, 1964.

3 Quoted in Mendonça, José Luís: „Luuanda – 1964/2014. Catana literária contra o colonialismo“, Cultura, 3/70 (11–12/2014), pp. 3–5.

4 Carvalho, Ruy Duarte de: Ana a Manda. Os filhos da rede. Identidade colectiva, criatividade social e produção da diferença cultural: um caso muxiluanda, pref. Jean Copans, Lisbon: Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical 1989.

5 Quino, António: „Ineke Phaf-Rheinberger. Literatura angolana não existe na Alemanha“, Cultura 1/19 (10–23 Dec. 2012), pp. 25–27.

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ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2017 (September)
Postcolonial Literatures Mozambique Construction of Memory Critical Voices Ghost Stories Cultural Strategies
Frankfurt am Main, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2017. 233 pp., 1 colured ill., 3 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Ineke Phaf-Rheinberger (Volume editor) Ana Sobral (Volume editor) Selma Pantoja (Volume editor)

Ineke Phaf-Rheinberger, Berlim, Literaturas da América Latina, do Caribe, e da África. Ana Sobral, Universade Zurique, Suiça, Literaturas Globais em Inglês Tania Macêdo, USP São Paulo, Centro de Estudos Africanos, Literaturas africanas. Selma Pantoja, Universidade Brasília, História e literatura africana.


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