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Speaking the Postcolonial Nation

Interviews with Writers from Angola and Mozambique


Edited By Ana Mafalda Leite, Sheila Khan, Jessica Falconi and Kamila Krakowska

This volume brings together interviews on the topic of the postcolonial nation and its narrations with prominent writers from Angola and Mozambique. The interviewees offer personal insights into the history of post-independence Angola and Mozambique and into the role of the intellectual elite in the complex processes of deconstructing colonial heritage and (re)constructing national identity in a multinational or multiethnic state. Their testimonies provide a parallel narrative that complements the many fictional narrators found in Angolan and Mozambican novels, short stories and poems. The authors interviewed in the book are Luandino Vieira, Ana Paula Tavares, Boaventura Cardoso, José Eduardo Agualusa, Ondjaki and Pepetela from Angola; and João Paulo Borges Coelho, Marcelo Panguana, Mia Couto, Paulina Chiziane, Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa and Luís Carlos Patraquim from Mozambique.
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We present this set of interviews carried out with writers from Angola and Mozambique in response to the need for methodological approaches and positions that go beyond those of a literary nature and for greater openness to the integration of perspectives and contributions from supplementary sources.

As a tool, the interview can be regarded as a trans-disciplinary practice. Readers and scholars who are already familiar with the literature of Portuguese-speaking Africa will recall the interviews carried out by Michel Laban (1991, 1998), and, specifically relating to Mozambique, by Patrick Chabal (1994) and Nelson Saúte (1998). We are dealing with a way of working that stakes itself on the construction of sources heavily marked by orality, by a narrative and dialogic mode, and by the autobiographical dimension of the interview itself (Portelli 2010: 4).

To analyse and critically interpret what today is Angolan and Mozambican literature forces us into an ecology of knowledge (Santos 2002: 250), where the contributions made by sociology, anthropology and cultural studies are combined. Above all, it requires knowledge of local and everyday dynamics and situations that have shaped the production of knowledge around the societies that have emerged from colonial experience. Consequently, with this set of interviews, we have sought to revalue the local knowledge and know-how grounded in Angola and Mozambique, as independent nations after a long trajectory of colonial repression. The testimonies of the writers translate territorial and cultural universes that open up new avenues within the field of...

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