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Socialismes en Afrique

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Françoise Blum
, 
Héloïse Kiriakou
, 
Martin Mourre
, 
et al.

Deuxième partie : socialismes en actes. 1 : socialisme des ville, socialismes des champs

Re-education Camps and the Messianic Ethos of Mozambique’s Socialism

Benedito Machava

Texte intégral

  • 1 The Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) changed its acronym in capital letters to Frelimo in 1977 (...)
  • 2 The exact number of camps is still unknown. Some were opened and closed after operating for only a (...)
  • 3 Writing for the Washington Post in 1980, American international correspondent Jay Ross estimated th (...)

1Immediately after taking over power from Portugal on 20 September 1974, the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) set the pace towards what was to be a difficult road towards building socialism in Mozambique.1 During the transitional government, and while preparing the conditions for the declaration of national independence (scheduled for 25 June 1975), Frelimo established several internment camps, which were officially known as re-education centers. More than twenty re-education centers were established in remote locations throughout the country, mostly in the northern province of Niassa.2 These centers are not to be confused with aldeias comunais (communal villages), which were inspired by Tanzania’s ujamaa villages. While aldeias comunais were an attempt to reorganize rural settlements based on socialist dictates (collectivization), re-education centers were penal institutions or, more precisely, internment camps (Thomaz 2008: 187). Although the first camps hosted Frelimo’s own dissidents, so-called reactionaries or counterrevolutionaries, the majority of camp detainees (reeducandos) were urban citizens who had been accused of anti-social behavior, including prostitution, alcoholism, vagrancy, idleness, and petty crimes of all kinds. As the camps replaced formal penitentiaries as the state’s primary penal institutions, people accused of all kinds of offences and wrongdoing, real and imaginary, quickly populated the camps without any type of formal judicial hearing. The exact number of inmates in these camps is still unknown,3 although some of the most crowded camps interned more than 1,000 reeducandos. While most detainees came and went—for a period of detention that indiscriminately ranged from a few months to several years—some served an indefinite detention until the system collapsed during the critical years of the civil war in the late 1980s. Based on my archival research, I estimate that about 100,000 people passed through the re-education and labor camp complex of socialist Mozambique through its existence from 1975 to 1992 (Machava 2018).

  • 4 On the Cuban UMAP camps, see Ros (2004) and Tahbaz (2013). On Vietnamese camps, see the memoirs of (...)

2Oral testimonies and archival records paint a grim picture of living conditions in these camps—one that resembles the Military Units to Aid Production (UMAP) labor camps in Cuba as well as the re-education and rustication camps of Vietnam and China, all of which drew their inspiration from the well-known Russian Gulags.4 Frelimo’s direct contacts with those regimes during its armed struggle against the Portuguese (1964–1974) undoubtedly provided it with the techniques of mass internment it employed. However, Mozambique’s re-education camps were distinctly different as regards both their physical composition and intent. While Gulags and UMAPs had an important economic dimension and operated mostly in well-guarded installations, Mozambique’s camps had no economic significance. With one or two exceptions, most re-education camps had no fences and were poorly guarded. Their remote location—often in the middle of a forest to which inmates were transported under cover of night—was assumed to be enough of an obstacle to curb escapes. The inmates’ labor consisted mainly of farming and was exclusively meant for their self-sustenance. The goal of the camps, according to the revolutionary leaders, was to transform the “scum of society” into New Men through corrective labor, political indoctrination, and moral education. The camps were mainly devised to mentally decolonize, socially purify, and morally regenerate putative enemies and groups of people deemed to be anti-social, all of whom were regarded as an obstacle to the socialist revolution.

3This paper is based on previously uncharted archival records on re-education camps that I accessed in the dusty confines of Mozambique government buildings in 2015, which are appropriately called the dead archive or arquivo morto (Machava and Gonçalves n.d.). It is part of a larger work in progress on the nature of Mozambique’s socialist experiment and the politics of moral reform and citizenship, at the heart of which lies a study of re-education camps. The paper does not go into detail on the intricate history of the camps’ administration and everyday life in detention: I will be taking up this task elsewhere (Machava n.d.). Rather, here I briefly explore the political architecture that produced the camps and the ways in which Frelimo authorities articulated—and justified—the establishment of this infamous penal institution, the internment camp. I briefly trace the origins of re-education (as a concept and practice) back to the years of Frelimo’s armed struggle for liberation (1964–1974), and to a key moment in the transition to independence—a show trial of Frelimo’s dissidents in Nachingwea (the Front’s rear base in Southern Tanzania). I then present and discuss a unique document that defined re- education and outlined its objectives in socialist Mozambique, and the arbitrary nature of the program.

4Studies of socialist Mozambique have made general references to re-education camps, often as an allusion to Frelimo’s quest for hegemony and the party’s political exclusivism and authoritarianism (Cahen 1987; Hoile 1989; Brito 1991; Hall, Young 1997). Overall, the camps are placed at the margin of Frelimo’s socialist project and have been cast as a policy error (Hanlon 1984; Hall, Young 1997; Robinson 2006: 235). Some authors have claimed that re-education (or any other violent form of social control implemented by Frelimo) was the result of a purposeless and bloody thrust on the part of the party leadership. Anthropologist Victor Igreja has argued that Frelimo’s violence was an end in itself and that it was “enacted without purpose,” other than to humiliate. He has placed Mozambique’s first President, Samora Machel, at “center stage in performing violence” (Igreja 2010: 782–783).

  • 5 Writing along similar lines, Mozambican sociologist Elísio Macamo argues that Frelimo was driven by (...)
  • 6 This argument rests on the concept of “political religion,” which Emilio Gentile defines as “the sa (...)

5In this paper, I take a different line. I argue that re-education camps were neither a marginal, accidental outcome of Mozambique’s socialist experiment nor a purposeless form of violence. On the contrary, the camps were at the heart of Frelimo’s socialist project—a project of nation-building and moral reform driven by a messianic and puritanical ideology. Beneath the armor of Marxism and militant nationalism, or nationism as Michel Cahen (2012) would have it, a salvationist utopia rooted in protestant ethics animated Frelimo’s obsessive pursuit of a morally upstanding New Man and a pristine society.5 As both Christian-educated nationalists and devoted Marxist-Leninists/Maoists, Frelimo revolutionaries were heirs to and conduits of a salvationist ideology that conceived politics not simply as a professional field of governance, but an arena in which the ontological problem of human existence and salvation could be realized.6 Frelimo leaders believed in manifest destiny, as the chosen ones with an unchallengeable mandate to deliver the people of Mozambique not only from colonial oppression, but also from the social evils of capitalist and feudal societies. They conceived liberation and revolution beyond the removal of the Portuguese colonial regime and the installation of a popular, socialist state. Theirs was a moral crusade that rested on the idea of social transformation through personal regeneration, self-perfection, and what historian Emilio Gentile calls “social transcendence” (Gentile 2006: 60). They longed for an imagined community of virtuous citizenry, the New Man, who they believed would surface from the ashes of the old decadent society as the purifying effect of the revolution swept across the newly liberated country.

6As vanguards of a movement pursuing an “inner-worldly political kingdom” or Great Harmony (the idyllic classless society free from the exploitation of men by men), Frelimo leaders, like the Bolsheviks and Chinese revolutionaries before them, “defined themselves as a moral élite, as a community of self-elected saints, who are entitled to transform totally the structure of society and to command the people in the name of salvation, to the establishment of a new and better social and cultural order” (Riegel 2005: 98; Schram 1989). As Margaret Hall and Tom Young noted in their study of post-colonial Mozambique, the Frelimo leadership had an “image of itself as an embattled vanguard of ‘fighters against darkness and superstition’ surrounded by legions of enemies, shepherding the masses towards progress and enlightenment” (Hall, Young 1997: 74). Casting the political history of Mozambique as a tale of good battling evil, Frelimo divided historical time in messianic and eschatological terms: between the dark era of precolonial feudalism and Portuguese colonial rule and the moment of light, awakening, and self-awareness brought about by the liberation struggle and the socialist revolution. This is what João Paulo Borges Coelho (2014) termed the “liberation script” in Mozambique’s historiography. Historian Igal Halfin has characterized this rendering of historical time by socialist revolutionaries as “Marxist eschatology,” which he defines as “a narrative that structured historical time as an odyssey of human consciousness.” The endpoint of this odyssey, he writes, is the “bright light of Communism, a symbol of human metamorphosis into the New Man.” He argues:

The Marxist eschatological vision prophesied a radical reform of the human soul, the unification of work and thought, rendering man both an active and a cognisant creature. The New Man could emerge only from the ranks of the proletariat, the class of virtuous toilers destined by Marx to play the part of messiah. Atomised and blinded by capitalism, the proletariat embodied the promise of redemption, not the actuality. Consciousness had to be mastered for emancipation to become possible. Self-awareness (or “class-consciousness,” as the Marxists put it) was carried aloft as the messianic standard. Once proletarians achieved this state, the Revolution was won and the path to Communism achieved. (Halfin 2000: 1–2, 6)

  • 7 In this formulation, we see hints reminiscent of Chiang Kai-Shek’s neo-Confucian and Christian-insp (...)

7In socialist Mozambique, re-education was conceived for those not yet awakened from darkness and social alienation by the anointing effect of the revolution. For these unworthy individuals, membership to the national brotherhood or the “temporal ecclesial” community of comrades (Voegelin 1986 [1938]: 36, 59), was only possible through the ascetic and purifying ritual of public repentance, moral renewal, collective manual labor and the hardship of taming nature in labor camps. The end product of re-education was the emergence of a New Man, who Frelimo leaders expected would be “politically conscious, physically apt, and mentally sound.”7 However, the gap between this utopic idea and the reality of re-education camps was extremely wide. In the end, the camps were what Giorgio Agamben (1998) calls spaces of “exception”: that is, a space of abandonment in which the distinction between fact and law was non-existent; a space where the lives of detainees were laid bare at the hands of camp overseers and the wretched conditions in the remote rural sites.

Purity and re-education during the liberation struggle (1964–1974)

  • 8 Centro de Documentação Samora Machel (CDSM)/Pasta 2 – Documentos da FRELIMO/J. Muthemba – Relatório (...)
  • 9 From a small group of 250 guerrillas in 1964, the front had grown to more than 10,000 in 1968. See (...)
  • 10 Testimony by Chefe Ripua, CDSM/Pasta 2 – Documentos da FRELIMO/Josina Muthemba – Relatório, 1968-19 (...)
  • 11 These very same bases served as re-education camps after independence.

8Like almost every policy that Frelimo implemented in independent Mozambique, the penal system of re-education was first tried out in the training camps and guerrilla bases during the armed struggle for liberation (1964–1974). According to a 1968 report, Frelimo commanders introduced the practice of “re-educating” deviant soldiers as early as 1965.8 This disciplinary method was drawn from the teachings of Mao Zedong, whose tactics in the protracted people’s war served as a model and inspiration for Frelimo’s own struggle. The presence of Chinese military instructors in training camps such as Nachingwea in Southern Tanzania (Frelimo’s army headquarters) reinforced the Maoist influence on Frelimo’s military culture (Brito 1991: 150; Martins 2001: 110). Initially, re-education consisted of corrective labor (digging holes, building huts, felling trees, and farming) and political indoctrination and moral exhortation for the offender to mend his or her ways. As the struggle advanced and the liberation movement grew in numbers, more severe forms of punishment were introduced, seemingly to deal with the soaring cases of indiscipline and deviant behavior within the ranks.9 Physical punishment (mainly chamboco or lashing) was administered for cases of desertion, disrespect for the hierarchy, theft, and mistreatment of local civilian populations. Deviant soldiers could receive up to thirty lashes before their colleagues in the rassemblement (the open area in the middle of the camp that served for meetings and roll calls), after which they were compelled to repent for their missteps.10 Some of the main guerrilla bases, such as Base Central and Moçambique D (or Chaimite) in Cabo Delgado were equipped with prison cells for more recalcitrant wrongdoers.11 With the rising exclusivism of the liberation movement in 1967–1968, the same offenses were met with extreme penalties, including death by firing squad. As Mariano Matsinha (then Secretary of the Central Committee) told journalists in a recent interview, “all those who crossed to the zone of the enemy were seen as enemies and were shot by firing squad.” He recalled the first death penalty he witnessed: “a man named Said, in Cabo Delgado. He was a guerrilla; he took his gun and invaded the population to steal chickens. He was shot and we shot many more. During war, you cannot play around” (Carmona, Beúla 2009: 2–4).

  • 12 CDSM/Pasta 2 – Documentos da FRELIMO/Definição do Inimigo, 1970.
  • 13 “Das Contradições no Nosso Seio,” A Voz da Revolução, January 1970.

9This radicalism coincided with the affirmation of Marxism-Leninism, and more specifically of Maoism, as the guiding revolutionary ideology among the young military leadership. At the same time, the stern disciplinary methods were a response to the intense pressure from the Portuguese counter-insurgency warfare, from aggressive military campaigns to infiltration of informants and provocateurs within Frelimo (Coelho 1989). Worried about internal enemies who might undermine the revolutionary struggle from within, Frelimo leaders commanded their cadres to observe a strict moral code. The code tapped Chairman Mao Zedong’s disciplinary rules for a guerrilla army, and yet it was expressed in a formulaic, prescriptive way that evoked the Christian upbringing of Frelimo’s leadership. In the heated environment of intensive warfare and internal power struggles between 1968 and 1969 and between 1970 and 1972, the code became an important tool for demarcating the line between revolutionaries and non-revolutionaries, the pure and the impure. Consequently, deviancy from the code, regardless of its nature and magnitude, became an act of the inimigo interno (enemy within), an impurity that had to be vigorously cleansed in order to preserve the purity of the revolutionary line.12 For Frelimo revolutionaries, the inimigo was no longer simply the physical agent of the Portuguese: in their estimation, the enemy encompassed everything from direct collaborationist actions to the more mundane behavioral aspects of daily life. Frelimo’s chief Commander and President, Samora Machel pointed out some of those aspects in 1970: “We came to the Revolution loaded with vices and defects. Some came impelled by ambition, to get high positions in independent Mozambique. Others came because they like an easy life, drinks, women.”13 For him, the battle against such ubiquitous manifestations of the enemy was an intimate, internal, and extremely difficult one. As he lectured his subordinates in Nachingwea’s Centre for Political and Military Training (CPPM) in 1972, “The fight against the enemy that lives in the mind is the toughest. Our whole upbringing, our tradition, our whole life until the time we joined FRELIMO make us see and cultivate as virtues what our new society rejects as defects. The CPPM, in its way of life, demands a radical change in values, attitudes and behavior” (Machel 1981: 16).

  • 14 Samora Machel, “Leadership is Collective,” p. 17. In the late 1920s, Chairman Mao instructed his so (...)

10While reflecting military concerns at a time of intense warfare, Machel’s statement also exemplifies the ethos of Frelimo’s messianism. The liberation front was thus conceived as a congregation of the enlightened and the pure. Joining Frelimo marked the beginning of a new life of righteousness and self-awareness and by so doing, militants were expected to rise from darkness and step into the light. Defined as a “sacred duty,” the armed struggle for liberation was thus a process of moral purification and social transcendence. Soldiers were not only commanded to fight the physical enemy but were required to cleanse their souls of the ills they carried from their past lives. They were expected to elevate themselves as immaculate and holy new social beings. They were exhorted to be vigilant and involved in a permanent struggle against the enemy that resided in their most inner selves. That internal enemy was moral wickedness. Personal ambition, corruption, individualism, elitism, disrespect and abuse of women, idleness and robbery, superstition, alcoholism, and prostitution: these were manifestations of the internal enemy, a serious threat to the purity of the revolutionary movement. Deviant acts like theft, even minor cases such as when hungry soldiers stole poultry or a few ears of maize, were seen as a lack of endurance, self-sacrifice, and selfishness that could destroy the liberation movement (and the Mozambican dream) if it were not properly dealt with. As Machel put it in 1970, “the struggle against stealing, waste and lack of thriftiness is part of developing a collective spirit. To steal is a selfish act, an act of disregard for the interests of one’s comrades.” And drawing from Chairman Mao’s Three Main Rules of Discipline, he added: “Fighters should be taught to return even a needle they find.”14

11For Machel, guerrilla fighters had to be morally upright and act as the living example of the New Man, the self-denying, righteous, and incorruptible citizen of revolutionary Mozambique. Punishment, including execution by firing squad, was a pedagogical tool administered in public to ensure that the outer and inner cleansing process that Frelimo soldiers were exhorted to undergo produced the desired results. Punishment was not employed for the sake of inflicting pain or simply eliminating the offender, but in order to teach the wrongdoer and the witnesses the boundaries of permissible behavior. As Barrington Moore seminally argued, throughout the history of humankind, moral purity (or its blind and delusional pursuit) has supplied the guillotine with a great deal of fodder (Moore 2000: 59–104).

  • 15 Other sources claim that the number of showcased detainees in Nachingwea was 240. See “Frelimo mili (...)

12After the end of the liberation war in 1974, Frelimo transferred the stern practices of pedagogical punishment to re-education camps in independent Mozambique. Guerrilla cadres trained in the austere “laboratories of the Mew Man” such as Nachingwea were tasked with running the camps, and they did so in the same way in which Frelimo training camps and military bases had operated during the armed struggle. It is not surprising that the first inmates in the re-education camps were Frelimo’s own dissidents and deserters. The most notorious dissidents, including the former vice-president Reverend Uria Simango (labeled traitor number one since his expulsion in 1970), were hunted down and arrested by Frelimo’s secret services in coordination with the Portuguese, Tanzanian, Zambian, and Malawian authorities. They were all sent to Nachingwea in November 1974. About 400 dissidents and deserters were paraded in March and April 1975, in what came to be known as the Nachingwea show trial (Reis, Muiane 1975: 132).15

The Nachingwea show trial

  • 16 CDSM/Pasta 2 – Documentos da FRELIMO/Definição do Inimigo, 1970.

13The Nachingwea show trial is a compelling case of what Igan Halfin calls the juridical “hermeneutics of the soul”: that is, a public trial of intimate enemies through judicial proceedings that do not focus on—or do not seek—factual evidence of betrayal or crime, but moral failure, the weakness of the spirit that leads individual to treacherous and criminal acts (Halfin 2007: 2). As Barrington Moore has noted, for revolutionary movements animated by puritan and salvationist ideals (as is the case of Frelimo), “political differences [are] moral differences and opponents moral outlaws, lepers and menaces all at once” (Moore 2000 :74). The enemies not only had to be denounced and expurgated from the party; their crimes had to be brought to the people and tried before them. That the enemies themselves should provide a naked account of their actions through biographical narration and confessions of guilt was key to the proceedings. As Halfin noted of the Soviet show trials during Lenin’s tenure, “culpability was determined according to the accused’s personal record: the intention behind the crime was key, and the object of investigation was the soul of the accused, its moral inclination, its hopes and designs. To arrive at the soul, the investigators pursued the life history of their quarry with great zeal: motives grew out of biography; without biography no verdict could be rendered” (Halfin 2007: 2, 14). Like the Bolsheviks, whose ideological manuals and pamphlets Mozambique revolutionaries were very familiar with, Frelimo “understood opposition to be not so much a political platform as a spiritual predicament—a dangerous infirmity of consciousness. Because emancipatory truth was supposed to speak in a single voice, to be in opposition to the Central Committee meant to challenge proletarian truth, to become a source of discord in the brotherhood of the elect” (Halfin 2007: 22).16

14The Nachingwea show trial had hints of the theatrical public accusations and talks of bitterness of the early days of China’s revolution (Schram 1963: 57; Strauss 2006: 891–912). Yet, it had its own revivalist flair, following a common practice of public confessions of guilt and repentance within Frelimo. Given its proportions and symbolic significance, at a time when the liberation front was savoring victory and contemplating the assumption of power just as the Portuguese administration was preparing to leave, the trial would serve as a model for subsequent events in which Frelimo had to confront and come to terms with its intimate enemies. The meeting with former political prisoners (ex-pps) in 1978; the meeting-trial of the comprometidos, or “collaborators,” with the Portuguese in 1982; and the various visit-meetings that Frelimo authorities held with detainees in re-education camps all followed the script laid out at Nachingwea.

  • 17 “Frelimo militants expose traitors,” Daily News, 20 March 1975; “Frelimo exposes traitorous clique, (...)
  • 18 “Frelimo militants expose traitors,” Daily News, 20 March 1975.

15The showcase of 400 “traitors” and the public judgment of their crimes in Nachingwea was a sacramental event. It was graced by the honored presence of distinguished guests, among them Julius Nyerere and Kenneth Kaunda (the Presidents of Tanzania and Zambia respectively). Marcelino Komba, a Tanzanian newsman who reported on the event with great delight, described the main audience at the trial as “a sea of militants, young and old, black and white,” all of whom “sat on the ground, legs crossed and looking alike in their green combat uniforms, complete with jungle hats.”17 Samora Machel, the supreme leader of the “brotherhood of the elect”, took center stage as presiding judge, “clad in Frelimo military gear and walking up and down as he spoke.”18 It was before this disciplined and intimidating “sea of militants” that the detainees were commanded to stand and narrate their histories of betrayal.

  • 19 For similar examples of revivalist public self-disclosures in Africa, see Peterson (2012: 105–26).
  • 20 “Frelimo exposes traitorous clique,” Daily News, 23 April 1975.
  • 21 Ibid.
  • 22 Ibid.
  • 23 Ibid.

16In a fashion typical of inquisitorial trials, where the soul and its wickedness are the object of the investigation, detainees were forced to narrate their personal histories and confess their guilt. Like a Christian revivalist session of self-disclosure and self-accountancy for one’s sins, detainees had to show their awareness and recognition of the moment of sin, the moment at which their faith in the revolutionary cause failed them and led them to traitorous behavior.19 President Machel singled out detainees at random as they filed past between the watching crowds and gave the histories of “how they teamed up with the enemy.” Komba, the fascinated Tanzanian newsman, observed with awe that the crowd interrupted the biographical narrations constantly with outbreaks of singing. “At times [the singing] was to praise the struggle. At others it was to laugh at the traitors,” as in the following song: “You are reactionaries, agents of the Portuguese. We shall show you what you deserve. We thank you Mondlane for leading us into the struggle.”20 The supreme judge was never bothered by such interruptions. Hymnodies composed by militants trained in Protestant church choirs had always been an essential part of the cultural ensemble of the revolutionary struggle. Several choir groups were present at the trial to entertain the crowds, but most importantly to endow the sacramental ritual with an appropriate solemnity. Samora Machel was a passionate chorister himself, at times leading the choirs with his favorite number, “Khanimambo, Khanimambo Frelimo.” As the amazed Tanzanian newsman observed, “before the group came on stage, ndungu Samora broke out singing. His militants joined him with alacrity.”21 When Uria Simango and Joana Simeãocame—the two most notorious “traitors”—were on the stage, the singing filled the camp with increased vigor. The introduction of Simango “had to be spoken very loudly because the militants were singing ‘Simango is a traitor’.”22 When Machel brought Joana Simeão “to face the militants, holding her by the arm,” the crowd broke in singing: “Joana you are a reactionary. Frelimo has no end.”23

  • 24 Ibid.

17Reverend Simango’s “marathon confession statement” lasted for several hours (Fig. 1), during which “he had to drink water thrice.”24 His was a special one, for it was written and read aloud. Over twenty pages long, the confession was a chronology of Simango’s political biography since the founding of Frelimo in 1962 and his fall from grace. In it, the former vice-president admitted that ambition for power blinded him, leading him to oppose the revolutionary line and ultimately betray the revolution. He assumed blame for the crisis that befell Frelimo in the mid-1960s and threatened the very existence of the party, including the 1969 assassination of the first president, Eduardo Mondlane. The following excerpt from the lengthy confession is particularly illuminating:

I, Uria Timóteo Simango, declare that: before the documentation that FRELIMO possesses, I have concluded that it is vain to deny the facts. […] To make this document public is one way of beginning to pay the debt that I have with the people, a way of beginning to depict myself […]. Throughout my life I have been a very ambitious man. In all the organisations in which I was a member I always desired to be the first. Appointed or not, I always worked to achieve that ambition. Ambition blinded me; it led me to join FRELIMO and to commit many mistakes. […] Many students lost their way and turned against FRELIMO because of me, an errant man. […] Therefore I accept my mistakes and invite all those who have defected from FRELIMO because of me to return, because I am confident that FRELIMO will have mercy on them. […] Since my arrival [in Nachingwea] I have received wonderful treatment. […] Why does FRELIMO act this way? I have two answers for this question: a) because FRELIMO has assumed the responsibility for the well-being of the Mozambican people; b) because FRELIMO wants to educate and it educates the errant and wants to lead them in the righteous way. A request to the people: although I arrived at this decadence for being blind, I acknowledge the paths that I took; I acknowledge my mistakes and their magnitude for the people of Mozambique. I beg for three things: that they forgive me; that they educate me; that my example is used to educate future generations. (Ncomo 2004: 417–437)

Fig. 1. Uria Simango at the Nachingwea Trial. Presidents Julius Nyerere and Kenneth Kaunda are seated at the center of the table. (Courtesy of Arquivo do Jornal Notícias)

Fig. 1. Uria Simango at the Nachingwea Trial. Presidents Julius Nyerere and Kenneth Kaunda are seated at the center of the table. (Courtesy of Arquivo do Jornal Notícias)
  • 25 AGGPN/Documentos da FRELIMO/Situação Sombria na FRELIMO, por Uria Simango, 3 November 1969.
  • 26 Anthropologist Karin Barber defines addressivity as the “way the text [written or spoken] addresses (...)
  • 27 AGGPN/Documentos da FRELIMO/Os Graves Acontecimentos de 1968 e as Divergências Ideológicas ao Nível (...)

18According to his biographer, Reverend Simango could have never written this confession (Ncomo 2004: 337). A comparative textual comparison of the confession with Simango’s previous writings, particularly the 1969 pamphlet “Gloomy Situation in FRELIMO”—which precipitated his expulsion from the party in 1970—also leads me to the firm conclusion that the reverend did not author the confession.25 Simango wrote in a less vigorous, commanding manner. His textual cadence—or addressivity, as Karin Barber would have it—was normally halting, denoting the writer’s effort to persuade rather than to prescribe or urge.26 The vigorous and exhortatory tone of the confession, particularly its messianic and salvationist message, is closer to the normative and oratorical texts of Frelimo’s Central Committee. The line of argument, particularly the presentation of the facts about Frelimo’s internal crisis, exactly reproduces the perspective of the Central Committee on the subject.27

  • 28 The confession was published in full in A Tribuna, 14 May 1975. The concluding section was included (...)

19The significance of this conclusion rests not in the travesty of the confession—on which scholars have concentrated their analytical efforts (Cabrita 2000: 83; Ncomo 2004: 337)—but rather on the nature of Frelimo’s hermeneutics of the soul: that is, the ways in which Frelimo revolutionaries sought to produce Simango’s culpability. His guilt did not necessarily lie with the traitorous “crimes” he had putatively committed, but with his moral character. His ultimate crime was personal ambition; his lack of faith in the revolution; and the wickedness of his soul, which continued to linger in the dark abyss from which his companions had been elevated by the awakening and purifying light of the revolutionary struggle. The theological imprint in this confession is clear-cut. What was a political misdeed was here transformed into a sinful failure with consequences for the whole of Mozambique’s people. It was from the wronged “people” that the sinner had to ask for forgiveness, while highlighting the merciful character of the brotherhood of the elect. That a Frelimo cadre wrote the confession and Simango was forced to read it aloud reinforces the liturgical nature of the trial. Another significance of this confession lies in its utility for Frelimo’s nation-building project, which is clearly inscribed in the opening phrase: “To make this document public is one way of beginning to pay the debt that I have with the people, a way of beginning to depict myself.” Entitled “The Confession of Simango,” the text was printed in the local press and was held up as the epitome of a moral lesson on reactionary behavior and treachery.28 Defamatory songs in which Simango was called a traitor were sung in schools and at party meetings. Simango was cast as the ultimate traitor. His self-depiction—like that of other “traitors”—served as a model for the similar exercises of autobiography and self-revelation required of every individual who in one way or another had betrayed the revolution, or at the very least, was in close proximity to the enemy. The case of the comprometidos who were compelled to showcase their photographs and autobiographies in public spaces in 1978 is the most illustrative example of this practical work of producing sinful enemies and making them visible—a key component of Frelimo’s nation-building project. As journalist Jay Ross observed in 1980:

  • 29 Jay Ross, “Mozambican re-education camps raise rights questions,” The Washington Post, 7 May 1980, (...)

Re-education is not confined to the camps in Mozambique. Displayed outside every government office is a row of pictures of people working there who cooperated with the colonial government, with their “crimes” listed. The theory [Minister of Information José Luis Cabaço said] is that people who worked against Frelimo should confess so they are not vulnerable to blackmail by either their fellow workers or dissident elements who had formerly been based in Rhodesia but had now moved to South Africa [Renamo]. The “rogues gallery” of photos was first put up in 1978 and the government intends to end the practice later this year [1980].29

  • 30 “Frelimo exposes traitorous clique,” Daily News, 23 April 1975. However, the history of re-educatio (...)

20Along with re-education camps, the “rogues gallery” was the epitome of Frelimo’s hermeneutics of the soul after Mozambique’s independence. As the party moved towards assuming power, concrete examples of anti-revolutionary behavior became increasingly important as a means of rallying the “masses” behind the common cause of building a new nation (Meneses 2015: 9–52). Thus, Frelimo’s project became intrinsically related to and dependent on a never-ending struggle against internal enemies and the need to purify the party’s ranks and the social fabric at large by demanding that suspects depict themselves in biographical accounts. Such biographies—printed in newspapers, stuck on public buildings and stored in the party’s state security and administrative bureaucracy—provided the regime with a hermeneutic archive that validated the idea of the never-ending struggle against internal enemies, well expressed in the revolutionary slogan A Luta Continua. As President Machel remarked in his closing words at the Nachingwea trial: “We will not kill them. They are our educators. They are fertilizer for us. We shall always use this pain [of treason] to enrich our struggle.”30 After narrating their biographies at Nachingwea, the detainees pleaded for forgiveness and for re-education. Although they were instructed to ask for forgiveness from the “people,” in reality only President Machel had the final say as to their absolution.

21In November 1975, they were divided in three groups and moved to re-education camps in Cabo Delgado (Ruarua) and Niassa (Chiputo and M’telela). The most notorious detainees went to M’telela, the best guarded internment camp in Niassa province. They joined thousands of urban “anti-socials” whose immoral behavior was considered a hindrance to the socialist revolution, and who were already populating the re-education camps throughout the country.

A Haloing undertaking: the objectives of re-education in socialist Mozambique

  • 31 “FRELIMO Cria Campos de Reeducação,” A Capital, 20 November 1974, Mozambiquehistory.net.
  • 32 “Desferido golpe eficaz na prostituição e intermediários: Encerrados os cabarés da Major Araújo,” N (...)
  • 33 Daily News (Dar es Salaam), 3 November 1975, Mozambiquehistory.net; “FRELIMO Cria Campos de Reeduca (...)
  • 34 Daily News (Dar es Salaam), 3 November 1975, Mozambiquehistory.net.

22In November 1974, only a month after Frelimo had taken power, the then interior minister and national political commissar, Armando Guebuza, publicly announced the new government program to create re-education camps in Mozambique. In his announcement, Minister Guebuza estimated that there were 75,000 prostitutes in the capital city of Lourenço Marques alone, and that the aim of the government was to eradicate the sex trade in Mozambique once and for all. Frelimo regarded prostitution as the most pernicious form of moral decadence, and as a serious threat to the socialist revolution. “We are now installing camps,” the Minister said, “where we seek to raise their awareness so that they can learn a new life in conformity with the society that we will build.”31 Although the Minister’s statistics on the number of prostitutes in the capital city were no more than mere fabrication, the police and the army launched successive campaigns to “cleanse” the country’s urban areas of the so-called “anti-socials.”32 In the months that followed, the security forces carried out massive clean-up campaigns in bars, dance clubs, restaurants, cinemas, and brothels, detaining thousands of putative “anti-socials” and shutting down places of leisure. As the newspapers reported in November 1975, “over 3,000 men and women were rounded up in five of Mozambique’s major towns […] during an operation aimed at the rehabilitation of thieves, prostitutes, drug pushers and vagrants.”33 Minister Guebuza justified the round-ups—which he assured the press would “continue indefinitely”—by claiming: “The presence of such people in the country would corrupt society into crime and immorality.”34

23In 1976, the Ministry of the Interior (hereafter MINT), as the state organ responsible for the re-education program, issued the first formal document defining and outlining the objectives of re-education camps. By this time, the complex of re-education camps had already been established and cries of human rights abuses were spreading internally and internationally (Ramalho 1979; Ros 1980). Consequently, the government attempted to regulate the program and endow it with a legislative body. The ultimate goal was to integrate the conventional penitentiaries (which continued to operate in parallel to the camps) into the re-education complex and institute the re-education centers as the matrix of Mozambique’s penal system.

  • 35 GGPN – MINT-Serviços de Reeducação. Centros de Reeducação, January 1976.
  • 36 AGGPN – MINT/Decreto-Lei no. 77.

24The formal definition of re-education and the objectives of the camps came in a confidential circular bearing the signature of Minister Guebuza.35 It was the first of a series of proposals that were meant to legislate on the re-education program.36 The actual bill never saw the light of day. Beyond the Council of Ministers, the document seem to have only been shared with provincial governors and camp overseers. With fourteen points, this short but important text provides a clear idea of how Frelimo articulated its re-education project. It claimed that the “long period of colonial domination” under the Portuguese had created and left “deep wounds” in Mozambican society. These wounds went from “prostitution to alcoholism, vagrancy to drug abuse and banditry to idleness.” In addition, colonialism “subverted some mentalities, initiating them in the subtle game of the decadent tastes of the bourgeoisie.” All these “abject social ills,” as the circular termed them, stood in stark opposition to the new society that Frelimo was building. Consequently, a new battlefront was opened “against the vices of the bourgeoisie, against social evils, against ideological deviations.” This battle implied the creation of a New Man who, according to the circular, had to be “politically conscious, physically apt, and mentally sound.” Re-education camps were therefore established to rehabilitate the “elements of the population of our country that are affected by any of the above ailments, both physical and ideological” and transform them into politically conscious, morally upstanding, collectively engaged and physically active citizens. To accomplish this task, the camps were to have appropriate “political conditions” to help inmates or reeducandos “rediscover themselves as valid elements” and “gain proper political consciousness and the physical vigor that they lacked.” The following passage from the document is illuminating in its definition of reeducandos and the ultimate goal of re-education:

  • 37 AGGPM – MINT. Circular 6/GMI/976. Confidencial. Assunto: Objectivos dos Centros de Reeducação. 5 Ja (...)

All reeducandos are individuals who by their ideology, by their addictions or health condition, undermine the advancement of the revolutionary process. So it is necessary to transform them into elements that can make a contribution to the cause of the revolution, by re-educating them, by healing them from the evils that affect them.37

  • 38 AGGPM/Decisão no. 1/CM/Confidencial/Plano de tarefas e prazos para a implementação pelo Conselho de (...)

25It is unclear what the authors of the circular meant by “physical” ineptitude and health conditions when determining the targets of this new battlefront in the never-ending struggle against the internal enemy. As it is, it suggests that physically disabled and sick people were also an obstacle to the revolution and needed rehabilitation in detention camps. While many sick people did end up in re-education camps, more as a result of the arbitrariness of the program, a correct reading of this document is that Frelimo conceived unemployment as a social pathology and a moral failure. In Frelimo’s opinion, people (particularly urban citizens) were unemployed because they were lazy and enjoyed living in towns as parasites.38 Prostitutes, alcoholics and drug users, whose numbers were astronomically inflated in government statistics, were sociopaths who demanded the revolutionary government’s full attention. Politics was the remedy for everything, much in line with Frelimo’s sacred maxim that in revolution “politics is in command” (Munslow 1983: 118). Regardless of their nature and roots, all urban social ills, understood in the sense of “sequels of colonialism,” could only be fixed by political education, moral exhortation and the “liberating” effect of manual labor in rural sites, far away from the temptations of city lights.

26The objectives of re-education, as outlined in the circular, clearly demonstrate the nature of Frelimo’s eschatological messianism and a deep-seated puritan morality. Re-education was meant to salvage the individual from a state of darkness and bring her to light. The socialist revolution was thus a process of redemptive salvation through which the evils and social ills of the old colonial society had to be cleansed in order to give rise to a new pristine society of conscious and righteous citizens. The leadership of the revolutionary party was a brotherhood of the elect endowed with a secular divine mandate to “elevate people beyond themselves and have them live a superior life in the collectivity to which they belong” (Gentile 2006: 8). Like their Christian instructors, Frelimo revolutionaries “envisioned the human career as a cumulative moral voyage, unrelieved by the possibility of confession, atonement or absolution” (Comaroff, Comaroff 1991: 65). Although Frelimo defined the enemies of the revolution in a way that was degrading and often dehumanizing (using derogatory adjectives such as lackeys, parasites, anti-socials and apes), the party-state leadership rarely blamed people for their decadent habits. True to their eschatological reading of social reality, Frelimo leaders believed that Mozambicans, particularly urban residents, were victims of colonialism and the backward customs of feudal society. Their corrupt lifestyles and their moral and cultural alienation were all the product of the sinful environment in which they lived before the revolution. They therefore needed to be saved from their wicked ways and brought to a life of righteousness. Re-education was thus a form of social redemption, a cleansing ritual, a purification of the self in which old habits would be expelled from the body and mind and new ones would be implanted. In this sacramental, yet violent, rite, admission of sin was the first step towards absolution. Inmates in re-education camps were made to acknowledge that they had led a wrongful life and accepted the need to endure the hardships of camp life as a necessary path towards their purification and final salvation. Contrary to the Soviet Gulag or the Cuban UMAPs, where the main objective of internment was to exploit inmates’ free labor in the many economic enterprises (Applebaum 2003; Tahbaz 2013), re-education camps in socialist Mozambique were conceived to serve no other purpose than to transform men and women from fallen to redeemed human beings through hardship and moral renovation.

Fig. 2. President Samora Machel addressing detainees at Ruarua Reeducation Camp, Cabo Delgado, October 1981. (Courtesy of Arquivo do Jornal Notícias)

Fig. 2. President Samora Machel addressing detainees at Ruarua Reeducation Camp, Cabo Delgado, October 1981. (Courtesy of Arquivo do Jornal Notícias)
  • 39 Here again, Machel was drawing from the playbook of his favorite ideologue. In his commemoration of (...)
  • 40 Speech by Samora Machel in Cabo Delgado, in António Souto, “Cabo Delgado: Reeducação e legalidade f (...)
  • 41 Interview, José Cabaço, Maputo, 25 February 2015.
  • 42 Interview, Pastor Isaías Funzamo, Maputo, 11 March 2015. He made a similar claim to LeFanu (2012: 2 (...)

27President Samora Machel often described re-education as a form of Christian caritas, a method of bringing those who had lost their way back into the fold of national brotherhood. In his view, re-education was an act of benevolence, and proof of the party’s genuine concern for the wicked souls.39 Praising the advancements made in the re-education of “anti-socials” in a speech in Cabo Delgado in 1981 (Fig. 2), he reminded his listeners (among them hundreds of anxious reeducandos awaiting amnesty) that such people “would have simply been shot in other revolutions.” He equated the “benevolence” of Mozambique’s revolution with the sanctity of Christ. “As Jesus never realized he had a halo,” Machel remarked, “we too, crushed by everyday concerns, are not aware of the changes we have operated.”40 That Machel associated Frelimo’s deeds of saving the deviant with those of Christ is not surprising: Machel saw himself as having a messianic mandate to guide the people of Mozambique toward a worldly paradise of prosperity and social harmony. He was an energetic preacher of the catechism of self-improvement and moral purification, which he believed was a necessary path for the emancipation of Man and the full realization of the revolution. His tireless exhortations for Mozambicans to wage an internal struggle for self-perfection and self-discipline were not unconnected with his broader politics. Notwithstanding his outwardly anti-religious rhetoric, Christianity, as a practice, symbol or theme, was never far from his political work. As Machel’s former Minister of Information, José Cabaço told me in an interview, “Samora was very Protestant in his attitude, and he cited the Old Testament constantly.”41 The former head of the Presbyterian Church, Pastor Isaías Funzamo, who at times served as Machel’s confidant and “moral advisor,” was more audacious in his characterization of the president. He resolutely claimed that the leader of Mozambique’s socialist revolution “was not Marxist but a convinced Christian.”42 My understanding is that he was both. The archival records show that Machel drew copious comparative examples from the Bible to help him assert that the socialist experiment in Mozambique was a holy undertaking, and that re-education was a way for him and his party to show real love and salvation for those who were still trapped in darkness, and transform them into virtuous citizens. The following passage from his 1981 speech at the re-education camp of Ruarua in Cabo Delgado is remarkably significant:

  • 43 “Machel’s speech on unjust detentions in re-education camps,” Summary of World Broadcasts, London, (...)

Religious people talk of love for our neighbors. But our love cannot be abstract. It has to be concrete […]. However, if some of us are vagabonds, are lazy, how can we love each other? Some people lived as instruments of the oppressive colonial machine and committed heinous crimes against the people. Others were marginalized and learned to live from theft and other forms of crime. There are men whose intellectual education prevents them from accepting transformation and so they react against it. In sum, there are men destroyed and blocked by a recent past, and they need to be reconstructed and liberated. To abandon them to their fate is to continue with their destruction and marginalization. To jail indiscriminately those who fell under the purview of the law is to disbelieve that some of them can, here and now, be transformed. […] This is where re-education takes place. It is about fulfilling the principle that we never reject a man. It is a great achievement of our Party: a policy of clemency and believing in the transformation of man. […] Just like Christ, we have this halo that sometimes we are not aware of.43

  • 44 On Marxismo de Samora, see Bragança (1980: 43–50).
  • 45 “Machel’s speech on unjust detentions in re-education camps,” op. cit.

28This statement clearly indicates the utopian ground from which Samora Machel often preached his messianic message. Transcribed and published in newspapers and pamphlets, most of Machel’s speeches—the corpus of which was canonized as Marxismo de Samora or Samorismo—were punctuated with this kind of salvationist rhetoric.44 For Machel, re-education was a haloing undertaking; one that had to be carried out meticulously, because what was at stake was the salvation and transformation of Man from fallen to virtuous citizen. The statement above summarizes the kind of people who, in Machel’s understanding, needed salvation. These included a) the comprometidos—in his words, the “instruments of the oppressive colonial machine”; b) the anti-socials, that is, common criminals, vagrants, the unemployed, and prostitutes, those who “were marginalized and learned to live from theft and other forms of crime”; and c) political opponents and anti-revolutionaries, those “whose intellectual education prevents them from accepting transformation, and so they react against it.” For Machel, all these individuals were “destroyed and blocked by a recent past and [needed] to be reconstructed and liberated.” Speaking at a time when alarming concerns about human rights abuses were challenging the credibility of the socialist revolution in Mozambique, the supreme leader emphasized: “Punishment is not the objective of re-education, but the reintegration into society of the man who went astray.”45

29For Machel, re-education centers had to be schools for deviants. The unemployed, the idle, the morally corrupt and the criminal were all to learn the virtues of industriousness and self-reliance. Only by living off the land and by their own sweat could these “anti-socials” salvage themselves from alienation. Camp officials were to be diligent teachers, knowing each of their “pupils” in depth in order to help them learn and improve as new social beings, as the following passage from the president’s speech in Ruarua illustrates:

  • 46 “Machel’s speech on unjust detentions in re-education camps,” op. cit.

The re-education center should be a school where professional knowledge should be passed on and made use of. It is the fundamental task of officials in charge of re-education centers to know the history of each one of the people being re-educated—his life history and his origins, in order to understand why he committed his crimes. Who are his father, mother and brothers, who are his grandfathers, what type of life did they lead? These are essential issues that should be taken into account in order to understand why this or that one committed a crime.46

  • 47 The lists of detainees and their criminal offences produced by Niassa’s DPSRN are very instructive (...)

30Again, the motives of the detainees’ crimes—their sins, that is—were to be found in their biographies. The work of camp overseers, as per Machel’s commandment, had to involve a hermeneutic reading of inmates’ souls by digging into their past lives, the lives of their ancestors and the environment in which they grew up. Forensic police investigation was of no use here either for determining an inmate’s guilt or explaining the cause of their crime. Since the crime and the criminal, and more importantly, the enemy of the revolution, had already been defined ideologically, the role of the police was to detain suspects whose behavior seemed to match the characteristics of the enemy (or simply dispatch those individuals who were denounced by their co-workers, neighbors and even relatives to internment camps without any investigation). As political philosopher Hannah Arendt once noted, in authoritarian regimes, “objective enemies” are not defined by what they aspire or threaten to do based on police surveillance and investigation, but by what they are thought to be. The enemy, Arendt wrote, is often a “carrier of tendencies like the carrier of a disease” (Arendt 1985: 424). This helps explain why Frelimo leaders saw social challenges as pathologies to be cleansed from society and healed through rituals of social purification. It also explains why the overwhelming majority of re-education camp detainees were often suspected of and accused of a given crime or had a tendency for a particular condemned behavior.47 Guilt would be produced in the camp through confession and autobiographical self-depiction, as would be the cure, the healing of the social evils that were a constant threat to the revolution. This is what President Machel and his colleagues hoped for. The reality was abysmally different.

Re-education camps and the arbitrariness of power

  • 48 Jay Ross, “Mozambican re-education camps raise rights questions,” op. cit.
  • 49 AGGPN – DPSRN/SR/78. Relatório referente ao mês de Maio de 1977. Lichinga, 31 May 1977.
  • 50 “Para o centro de reeducação só se vai depois de julgado e condenado,” Notícias, 4 January 1985, Mo (...)

31Despite Frelimo’s salvationist rhetoric, re-education was an extra-legal undertaking fraught with irregularities and the total abuse of human rights (Pinto de Sá 1995).48 The party-state had no master plan for the re-education program. The entire process was ad hoc and undertaken hastily. Camps were opened following secret executive orders from MINT, often after massive campaigns to cleanse the cities of so-called “anti-socials.” With the exception of M’telela (which was under the exclusive responsibility of the regime’s political police, the SNASP), all re-education camps were administered by MINT. However, no professional centralized unit was created to oversee the program when it was launched in late 1974. Consequently, the process was characterized by improvisation from the outset. Citizens were arrested arbitrarily, and after a few days in police custody, where they were rarely allowed to contact their relatives, they were evacuated to camps without any hearings or any formal sentence. The length of re-education was indeterminate. Very few detainees arrived in camps with any kind of document identifying the criminal charges against them, and only a handful could say why they were in re-education.49 The judiciary branch of the government, which was still in charge of conventional penitentiaries, had no say in the administration of the camps or in the fate of inmates (Cabrita 2000: 96). Once detainees were sent for re-education, their fate was in the hands of camp overseers. Only the Interior Minister and the local Governor, and at the highest level, the President, could issue a release order. As Mozambican magistrate Mário Mangaze acknowledged at a round table debate on justice in 1985, “there were detainees serving sentences in re-education camps under the Ministry of the Interior where the Public Prosecutor was not allowed to enter. And he did not.”50

  • 51 AGGPN/Documentos Dispersos 1976-1984/MINT-SR, Circular 44-GSREED-978/Maputo, 11 April 1978.

32Frelimo’s messianic utopia was totally disconnected from reality. Wretched infrastructures and poor logistics meant that re-education and labor camps offered no conditions for the rehabilitation of inmates (even of those “condemned” for heinous crimes such as rape or murder). Hunger, cold and physical and emotional distress caused by the wretched conditions in the camps affected not only the inmates, but also the camp overseers. There was a monstrous gap between the salvationist idea of rehabilitation through corrective labor and moral reform and the reality of indefinite detention and the cruelty of camp life. Rather than creating the idyllic New Man, Mozambique’s re-education camps produced Agamben’s homo sacer, whose lives could be taken without the commission of a felony (Agamben 1998). In fact, hundreds of detainees perished in the camps due to hunger, disease, and physical punishment, and yet no post-mortems were ever carried out. Dead reeducandos were buried unceremoniously in the bushes, and their families were rarely notified of their passing.51

  • 52 “Em Inhambane: Recuperação de Marginais,” Notícias, 12 November 1974; “Inhambane: Campos de recuper (...)
  • 53 AGGPN – DPSRN, No 262/SR/76. Relatório do Mês de Abril de 1976. Lichinga, 28 May 1976
  • 54 “Mozambique’s Re-education Camps,” The Review of International Commission of Jurists, [Geneva], Dec (...)

33The first re-education camp was opened in late October 1974, only a month after the installation of Frelimo’s transitional government. The camp was located in Inhassune, a remote area in Inhambane province, 450 kilometers (280 miles) north of the capital Lourenço Marques-Maputo. As the local press reported, the first reeducandos were a group of 90 “unoccupied and marginal individuals who have been causing undesirable situations in Lourenço Marques; individuals who live in the suburbs of Lourenço Marques without an appropriate way of life.”52 By undesirable situations and inappropriate way of life one must read vagrancy, idleness, prostitution, and petty crime. Given the primary target of the first clean-up campaigns (prostitution), more women were detained in the initial phase of the re-education program; however, Inhassune seems to have hosted only men. In November 1974, two camps in Niassa province (M’sawize and Ilumba) were established exclusively for women of má vida or ill repute. Naisseco, also in Niassa, was opened for “individuals considered to be drug addicts.”53 More than twenty camps had been opened by late 1975 and early 1976, as unexpected round-up operations and mass arrests in towns increased across the country. A 1981 report by Geneva’s Review of the International Commission of Jurists 1981 claimed that “some 15,000 people were detained in the first month” of Mozambique’s independence alone.54

  • 55 “Inhambane: Campos de recuperação começam a funcionar,” Tribuna, 11 November 1974.
  • 56 Interview, Simeão Mazuze, Matola, 20 November 2014; Interview, Felizardo Chaguala, Matola, 4 Decemb (...)

34Military trucks and armed convoys traversed the extensive territory from south to north, dropping hundreds of detainees at remote locations. With very few exceptions, most camps had no single infrastructure but a small cleared area. In some cases, inmates had to open the clearing as soon as they jumped out of the military trucks, after days of a tortuous journey from the capital or other towns. Literally dumped in the middle of the wilderness, inmates were immediately ordered to build their huts for the night (and for the years to come) and then clear the land for the machambas or fields on which to cultivate corn and beans (the only food they would eat during their indefinite detention).55 These hastily and unskillfully built huts, even with the help of local peasants, barely protected the detainees from nature’s elements (cold at night, snake bites on hot days, and other life-threatening hazards).56

  • 57 Interview, Simeão Mazuze, Matola, 20 November 2014; Interview, Felizardo Chaguala, Matola, 4 Decemb (...)

35Initially, MINT attempted to concentrate detainees according to their criminal categories: political prisoners, deserters, vagrants and drug addicts, prostitutes, hoodlums, and so on. The scheme did not hold, however, and the re-education program rapidly descended into chaos. The camp of Sacudzu in Sofala province, for example, held more than 1,000 reeducandos, among them street children, non-convicted thieves and murderers, innocent civilians who could not produce ID cards during the cleansing campaigns and sacked civil servants (including teachers, “undisciplined” soldiers, and police officers).57 In Ruarua, common criminals shared the wretched barracks with Frelimo deserters. Even M’telela, a camp destined for prominent political prisoners, received detainees for common law offences. The arbitrariness of detentions, as well as the intimate politics of enmity and denunciation among workers, neighbors and family relatives—which were often driven by personal intrigue and were now being articulated and played out in the national political arena—led many innocent civilians to concentration camps.

  • 58 “Tribalista vai à reeducação,” Notícias, 20 January 1978.
  • 59 António Souto, “Cabo Delgado:…,” op. cit.
  • 60 Interview: Ana Maria, Matola-Kongoloti, 12 December 2014.
  • 61 AGGPN – DPSRN/SR/Lista Nominal de Cidadãos Reeducandos dos Campos de Naisseco e M’sawize. Sd.

36Frelimo’s moral crusade provided an opening for old, mundane disputes among ordinary people. Angry fathers and husbands had their unruly daughters and unfaithful wives sent for re-education. Unhappy wives rid themselves of their husbands by denouncing them as alcoholics or polygamists. Workers and students sent their rival colleagues for re-education because of carelessness, indiscipline or tribalism.58 Jealous neighbors got rid of their local competitors, either for property or the heart of a beautiful woman, by denouncing them as comprometidos, counterrevolutionaries, or candongueiros (black marketeers). In his first visit to Niassa’s re-education camps in 1979, President Machel was appalled to see many people who had been detained since 1974 as a result of personal intrigue and unfounded accusations. One man had been denounced (possibly as a candongueiro) by a neighbor who wanted to take ownership of his property.59 One of my interviewees, Ana Maria, was sent to M’sawize accused of prostitution by a police officer after she rejected his improper advances towards her.60 Cases of this kind were rampant throughout the re-education camp complex.61 Since the way out could only be granted by a few top figures among the brotherhood of the elect (the president, the interior minister and the local provincial governor), thousands of innocent civilians spent years in detention. Even when the hermeneutic work of soul searching inside the camp conclusively showed that someone was indeed innocent, release could only arrive from ordens superiors (superior orders).

Fig. 3. Reeducandos lining up for cornmeal pap in Niassa; undated. (Courtesy of Arquivo do Jornal Notícias)

Fig. 3. Reeducandos lining up for cornmeal pap in Niassa; undated. (Courtesy of Arquivo do Jornal Notícias)

37Once in re-education camps, inmates lost all protection under the law. Despite all the rhetoric about benevolence and non-rejection, reeducandos were in fact non-citizens. They were stripped of all their civil rights. Their black uniforms emphatically symbolized the state of darkness of their wicked lives, a state from which they were expected to elevate themselves during their indefinite re- education process. Yet, even in this attempt to dress all inmates in black, the National Re-education Service (a branch of MINT) fell very short. Clothing was a luxury, especially in the extremely underdeveloped rural areas where the camps were located. Photographs that were not printed in local papers due to censorship, but are well preserved in the archival records of newspapers, show reeducandos (most of them of tender age) in tattered clothes, lining up miserably for meagre meals, nothing more than a bowl of chima or cornmeal pap (Fig. 3).

  • 62 Following the Chinese Yundong campaigns to root out internal corruption and malpractice, the Ofensi (...)
  • 63 See Tempo’s special edition on the presidential visit to Niassa, Tempo, Edição Especial, 26 Decembe (...)
  • 64 Lured by promises of a bountiful future—so convincing were the words of the president that the stat (...)

38The arbitrariness of the re-education program came to a temporary halt in 1981, as part of President Machel’s Ofensiva Política e Organizacional, a largely populist campaign the President launched against corruption, unlawfulness, and inefficiency within the party-state.62 Officially launched in March 1980, the ofensiva had in fact been initiated earlier, in October 1979, after Machel made his first Presidential visit to Niassa province (the heartland of re-education). Although the president and his cabinet had been aware of the irregularities of the re-education program from the outset, the catalyst for the ofensiva was a series of letters addressed to the president by the Catholic Church and ordinary citizens containing complaints about the illegal and indefinite detention of innocent civilians, as well as cases of corruption and dysfunction in the public administration. As a consequence, the president created the Department of State Inspection with the objective of addressing the complaints. Headed by Chief Inspector Armando Pachinuapa, the Department carried out the first investigations at the re-education camps in Niassa and Cabo Delgado in 1979 and “confirmed the allegations” of unjust treatment of detainees. When he visited the camps in Niassa, President Machel had complete files of the detainees’ biographies produced by the inspection commission in his hands. In some camps, such as Unango and Chiputo, the President re-enacted the Nachingwea show trial in dramatic ways, singling out particular detainees and confronting them with their past crimes. At the end of a highly-publicized visit, the supreme leader announced the amnesty of all detainees in three camps (Unango, Chiputo, and Naisseco);63 however, except for the elderly and those who were extremely debilitated by sickness, most of the pardoned detainees were not allowed to return to their original hometowns. They were ordered to stay in the same areas and to transform their detention camps into socialist towns, where their wives and children would join them.64

  • 65 “Machel’s speech on unjust detentions in re-education camps,” op. cit. See also Machava (2011: 593– (...)
  • 66 The first commander of the rebel movement MNR/Renamo, André Matsangaissa (a former Frelimo soldier) (...)

39Two years later, in 1981, the president returned to northern Mozambique at the height of his ofensiva and released more detainees in Niassa (M’sawize) and Cabo Delgado (Chaimite and Ruarua). He was again confronted with cases of arbitrariness and injustice. Yet, true to his beliefs—according to which all the problems facing Mozambique were the work of internal enemies seeking to undermine the revolution—the President blamed infiltrated enemy agents in the security forces for the arbitrariness of the re-education program. “We can only believe,” he said, “that these measures were taken by people who have infiltrated our structures in the service of counter-revolution.”65 By this time, most camps in south-central Mozambique had already been closed and the detainees moved to the north due to the civil war (since the camps were Renamo’s first targets).66 Like their amnestied predecessors, the released detainees were ordered to stay and built socialist towns. Those lucky enough to be permitted to return to their provinces of origin were sent to rural sites or the so-called zonas verdes (green areas) to work the land, far from the temptations of city life (which had caused their moral downfall, as the revolutionaries believed).

  • 67 See also “Lançada campanha contra a candonga: Detidos mais de 200 traficantes,” Notícias, 7 Decembe (...)
  • 68 “Para o centro de reeducação só se vai depois de julgado e condenado,” Notícias, 4 January 1985.

40Although most of the camps had been closed by 1981, a few continued to operate (more for the new enemies, since each phase of the revolution brought a new kind of enemy. In this new phase of economic crisis, the main enemy was the candongueiro, the black marketeer, the saboteur and the inefficient civil servant. Several civil servants found guilty of corruption and sabotage during the ofensiva were also made to undergo re-education, although the numbers were not as high as had previously been the case) (Machava 2011: 605–606).67 As a consequence of the ofensiva, from then on people could only be sent to re-education camps after a formal judicial trial.68 While these new measures reduced arbitrary detentions, the contradictions of the re-education program were hardly resolved. The harrowing civil war and economic stagnation meant that in those few camps that were still in operation, the detainees’ situation was very grim.

  • 69 AGGPN/PRM – Balanço Historial do Desenvolvimento do Trabalho Policial no Niassa, Lichinga, 18 Janua (...)
  • 70 Interview, Fernando Gonçalves, Maputo, 17 February 2015.
  • 71 Interview, José Araújo (Zequinho), Maputo, 18 January 2015.

41To make things worse, just when the re-education program seemed to be heading towards a close, the government launched the infamous 1983 Operação Produção, the largest campaign to cleanse and purify the cities of the pathology of idleness and parasitism and stimulate food production. This was by far the most extreme and desperate way Frelimo found to deal with the rural-urban migration and the chronic shortages in consumer goods and the collapse of urban services. The estimated number of people moved from urban areas throughout the country from May and September 1983—and continuously but less markedly until 1988—is put at 50,000–100,000 (Tartter 1984: 201; Howe 1984: 277; Thomaz 2008, Quembo 2017). Niassa alone received a total of 15,000 city-dwellers.69 The dynamics of Operação Produção, from the arrest of undocumented people who were unable to prove their formal employment and residential status to their forced relocation in zonas verdes and labor camps, were only marginally distinct from the re-education program. As one of my interviewees put it: “Re-education camps were reactivated when Operação Produção was launched.”70 However, the magnitude of Operação Produção amplified the wretched conditions in the labor camps. Most victims of Operação Produção found themselves in the same areas where re-education camps had once been operational. They had to join the ex-reeducandos in the elusive effort to transform remote sites into socialist cities of the future with no substantial assistance from the government. As another interviewee told me, when the victims of Operação Produção arrived in M’sawize, the camp only had 50 reeducandos. Within a few weeks, that number had reached 3,000, and the situation deteriorated dramatically. “People died every day,” he said. “They arrived very weak and were put to work immediately. I buried some of them myself.”71 Although Operação Produção was officially wound up in May 1988, two years after the death of President Machel, a few re-education camps continued to operate until 1992 (although on a much lower scale). Ironically, the re-education program survived the socialist experiment at least for three years.

Conclusion

42Mozambique’s socialist experiment was a blend of Marxism-Leninism/Maoism and a puritan, messianic utopia rooted in protestant ethics. Re-education was a product of this hybrid ideology. That such ideology produced grotesque contradictions and unspeakable violence has been hinted at in the vast scholarship on postcolonial Mozambique, but never fully investigated. This paper is a preliminary attempt at addressing what has been a noisy silence on the recent history of Mozambique: the meaning and objectives of re-education camps. It has argued that rather than a political mistake or a simple reflection of Frelimo’s quest for hegemony, re-education lay at the heart of the socialist project in Mozambique, a project that sought, above all, to remake the moral fabric of Mozambican society anew. Much is yet to be said about the establishment and administration of the camps and the everyday life of detainees and the fate of those who survived. While many were able to rebuild their lives, others never found a balance after such a traumatic experience. Many more are still trapped in the same sites to which they were coercively exiled more than thirty years ago. From the urban poor to poor peasants in the far reaches of Niassa and Cabo Delgado, there is little hope that they will ever make it back home to see their loved ones. The villagers of Unango and Matama in Niassa, some of whom were extremely pleased to talk in their southern mother-language (Ronga) when I interviewed them in 2015, are still waiting for the day their dusty villages will become modern towns with electricity and industries, as President Machel promised in 1979–1981. They must be the only people in Mozambique who are still hanging on to the promises of the socialist dream. Yet, theirs is a way of coping with perpetual banishment and permanent abandonment, for they know the revolutionary messiahs are long gone.

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Notes

1 The Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) changed its acronym in capital letters to Frelimo in 1977, when the Front became the Marxist-Leninist Vanguard Party. Because my study deals mostly with the Vanguard Party, I will use the name Frelimo for both the Front and the Party. I have borrowed the term “difficult road” from John Saul (1985).

2 The exact number of camps is still unknown. Some were opened and closed after operating for only a short time. I have identified three camps in the archival record in addition to the twenty-three previously identified by journalist João Cabrita (2000: 96). Although most of our findings coincide, the actual names of the camps and their locations are slightly different.

3 Writing for the Washington Post in 1980, American international correspondent Jay Ross estimated that there were 10,000 detainees in Mozambique’s re-education camps in that year, 3,000 of whom were thought to be political prisoners (“Mozambican re-education camps raise rights questions,” The Washington Post, 7 May 1980, Mozambiquehistory.net.).

4 On the Cuban UMAP camps, see Ros (2004) and Tahbaz (2013). On Vietnamese camps, see the memoirs of Doan, Chanoff (1986), and Vu (1988). On Chinese rustication, see Seybolt (1976) and Muhlhahn (2004). On Soviet Gulags, see Applebaum (2007).

5 Writing along similar lines, Mozambican sociologist Elísio Macamo argues that Frelimo was driven by an “eschatological nationalism” (Macamo 2017: 198).

6 This argument rests on the concept of “political religion,” which Emilio Gentile defines as “the sacralization of a political system founded on an unchallengeable monopoly of power, ideological monism, and the obligatory and unconditional subordination of the individual and the collectivity to its code of commandments.” The sacralization of politics in modern society, claims Gentile, occurs when “an entity such as a nation, state, race, class, party, or movement is transformed into a sacred entity” and it “claims for itself the prerogative to determine the meaning and fundamental aim of human existence for individuals and the collectivity.” Rising from the ebullient political environment of nineteenth-century Europe, political ideologies such as nationalism and philosophical doctrines such as socialism gave birth to political projects that took on a secular religious dimension. Fascism and Marxism-Leninism are the two extreme examples of the sacralization of politics in the twentieth century (Gentile 2006: xvxiv); see also Voegelin (1986 [1938]).

7 In this formulation, we see hints reminiscent of Chiang Kai-Shek’s neo-Confucian and Christian-inspired New Life Movement in 1930s Kuomintang China, which some authors claim resurfaced in Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. See, for example, Dirlik (1975: 945–980).

8 Centro de Documentação Samora Machel (CDSM)/Pasta 2 – Documentos da FRELIMO/J. Muthemba – Relatório, 1968-1969/Reunião do D.D., Nachingwea, 19 August 1968.

9 From a small group of 250 guerrillas in 1964, the front had grown to more than 10,000 in 1968. See Arquivo do Gabinete do Governador da Província do Niassa (AGGPN)/Documentos da FRELIMO/O Segundo Congresso da FRELIMO – Discurso Oficial do Comité Central, 1968.

10 Testimony by Chefe Ripua, CDSM/Pasta 2 – Documentos da FRELIMO/Josina Muthemba – Relatório, 1968-1969/Reunião do D.D., Nachingwea, 19 August 1968.

11 These very same bases served as re-education camps after independence.

12 CDSM/Pasta 2 – Documentos da FRELIMO/Definição do Inimigo, 1970.

13 “Das Contradições no Nosso Seio,” A Voz da Revolução, January 1970.

14 Samora Machel, “Leadership is Collective,” p. 17. In the late 1920s, Chairman Mao instructed his soldiers not to “take a single needle or piece of thread from the masses” (Mao 1975: 155). Students of European Puritanism and radical politics will recognize in Mao’s and Frelimo’s code of conduct Cromwell’s New Model Army, “with its rigid camp discipline, its elaborate rules against every imaginable sin from looting and rapine to blasphemy and card-playing” (Walzer 1965: 13).

15 Other sources claim that the number of showcased detainees in Nachingwea was 240. See “Frelimo militants expose traitors,” Daily News, 20 March 1975.

16 CDSM/Pasta 2 – Documentos da FRELIMO/Definição do Inimigo, 1970.

17 “Frelimo militants expose traitors,” Daily News, 20 March 1975; “Frelimo exposes traitorous clique,” Daily News, 23 April 1975.

18 “Frelimo militants expose traitors,” Daily News, 20 March 1975.

19 For similar examples of revivalist public self-disclosures in Africa, see Peterson (2012: 105–26).

20 “Frelimo exposes traitorous clique,” Daily News, 23 April 1975.

21 Ibid.

22 Ibid.

23 Ibid.

24 Ibid.

25 AGGPN/Documentos da FRELIMO/Situação Sombria na FRELIMO, por Uria Simango, 3 November 1969.

26 Anthropologist Karin Barber defines addressivity as the “way the text [written or spoken] addresses a reader or listener” (Barber 2007: 138).

27 AGGPN/Documentos da FRELIMO/Os Graves Acontecimentos de 1968 e as Divergências Ideológicas ao Nível da Direcção, 1970.

28 The confession was published in full in A Tribuna, 14 May 1975. The concluding section was included in the first collection of Frelimo’s key documents. See Reis, Muiane (1975: 323–325).

29 Jay Ross, “Mozambican re-education camps raise rights questions,” The Washington Post, 7 May 1980, Mozambiquehistory.net.

30 “Frelimo exposes traitorous clique,” Daily News, 23 April 1975. However, the history of re-education camps shows that it was in the intention—the nobility of the intention, one might say—that the socialist dream at large found its driving force in Mozambique, and not in the fulfilment of the intention. While most “traitors” were in fact spared and later released, Simango and his wife Celina, Joana Simeão, and few other prominent “traitors” were all executed in a covert operation after serving two years of detention in M’telela. Contrary to other cases in which executions of “traitors” and “enemies of the revolution” were carried out in public, or at least their photographs and short biographies were published in newspapers, the case of Simango and his company is still clad in mystery. For details on the fate of Simango and his company, see Cabrita (2000: 100-3) and Ncomo (2004: 331–347).

31 “FRELIMO Cria Campos de Reeducação,” A Capital, 20 November 1974, Mozambiquehistory.net.

32 “Desferido golpe eficaz na prostituição e intermediários: Encerrados os cabarés da Major Araújo,” Notícias, 10 June 1975. If Guebuza’s numbers were correct, more than thirty percent of all women in Maputo (about 250,000) would have been prostitutes. In 1975, 70,000 people represented fourteen percent of Maputo’s estimated population of 500,000 inhabitants. See SCCR/DNE. 1o. Recenseamento Geral da População de 1980, Projecções Demográficas, Volume 10. See also Mendes (1985).

33 Daily News (Dar es Salaam), 3 November 1975, Mozambiquehistory.net; “FRELIMO Cria Campos de Reeducação,” A Capital, 20 November 1974, Mozambiquehistory.net.

34 Daily News (Dar es Salaam), 3 November 1975, Mozambiquehistory.net.

35 GGPN – MINT-Serviços de Reeducação. Centros de Reeducação, January 1976.

36 AGGPN – MINT/Decreto-Lei no. 77.

37 AGGPM – MINT. Circular 6/GMI/976. Confidencial. Assunto: Objectivos dos Centros de Reeducação. 5 January 1976.

38 AGGPM/Decisão no. 1/CM/Confidencial/Plano de tarefas e prazos para a implementação pelo Conselho de Ministros e Aparelho de Estado da decisão de lançar a guerra ao inimigo interno. Maputo, 19 April 1980; see also “As fontes do sanguessuga,” Tempo, 1 January 1978.

39 Here again, Machel was drawing from the playbook of his favorite ideologue. In his commemoration of the Chinese Communist Party victory in 1949, Chairman Mao said: “As for the members of the reactionary classes […] so long as they do not rebel […] land and work will be given to them as well in order to allow them to live and remold themselves through labor into new people. […] Propaganda and educational work will be done among them too […]. This may be called a ‘policy of benevolence’ if you like […]” (Mao 1975: 419).

40 Speech by Samora Machel in Cabo Delgado, in António Souto, “Cabo Delgado: Reeducação e legalidade fabricam Homen Novo,” Notícias, 29 August 1981, Mozambiquehistory.net.

41 Interview, José Cabaço, Maputo, 25 February 2015.

42 Interview, Pastor Isaías Funzamo, Maputo, 11 March 2015. He made a similar claim to LeFanu (2012: 246).

43 “Machel’s speech on unjust detentions in re-education camps,” Summary of World Broadcasts, London, 6 October 1981, Part 4, The Middle East and Africa: B. Africa, page ME/6846/B/1, Mozambiquehistory.net. See also António Souto, “Cabo Delgado:…,” op. cit.

44 On Marxismo de Samora, see Bragança (1980: 43–50).

45 “Machel’s speech on unjust detentions in re-education camps,” op. cit.

46 “Machel’s speech on unjust detentions in re-education camps,” op. cit.

47 The lists of detainees and their criminal offences produced by Niassa’s DPSRN are very instructive on this point. In the row on the causes of detention, camp overseers wrote “accused of,” “suspected of,” and “unknown.” AGGPN – Direção Provincial dos Serviços de Reeducação do Niassa (DPSRN)/SR/Lista Nominal de Cidadãos Reeducandos dos Campos de Naisseco e M’sawize. Sd. See also AGGPN – DPSRN/SR/78. Relatório referente ao mês de Maio de 1977. Lichinga, 31 May 1977.

48 Jay Ross, “Mozambican re-education camps raise rights questions,” op. cit.

49 AGGPN – DPSRN/SR/78. Relatório referente ao mês de Maio de 1977. Lichinga, 31 May 1977.

50 “Para o centro de reeducação só se vai depois de julgado e condenado,” Notícias, 4 January 1985, Mozambiquehistory.net.

51 AGGPN/Documentos Dispersos 1976-1984/MINT-SR, Circular 44-GSREED-978/Maputo, 11 April 1978.

52 “Em Inhambane: Recuperação de Marginais,” Notícias, 12 November 1974; “Inhambane: Campos de recuperação começam a funcionar,” Tribuna, 11 November 1974.

53 AGGPN – DPSRN, No 262/SR/76. Relatório do Mês de Abril de 1976. Lichinga, 28 May 1976

54 “Mozambique’s Re-education Camps,” The Review of International Commission of Jurists, [Geneva], December 1981: 14–15, Mozambiquehistory.net.

55 “Inhambane: Campos de recuperação começam a funcionar,” Tribuna, 11 November 1974.

56 Interview, Simeão Mazuze, Matola, 20 November 2014; Interview, Felizardo Chaguala, Matola, 4 December 2014; Interview, Che Mafuiane, Maputo, 4 December 2014; Interview, Beto Tembe, Maputo, 18 January 2015.

57 Interview, Simeão Mazuze, Matola, 20 November 2014; Interview, Felizardo Chaguala, Matola, 4 December 2014.

58 “Tribalista vai à reeducação,” Notícias, 20 January 1978.

59 António Souto, “Cabo Delgado:…,” op. cit.

60 Interview: Ana Maria, Matola-Kongoloti, 12 December 2014.

61 AGGPN – DPSRN/SR/Lista Nominal de Cidadãos Reeducandos dos Campos de Naisseco e M’sawize. Sd.

62 Following the Chinese Yundong campaigns to root out internal corruption and malpractice, the Ofensiva consisted of unannounced visits by the president to public offices and state-owned factories. Hundreds of civil servants found guilty of carelessness and corruption were sacked and sent to re-education camps. See “Ofensiva: O que é? Da campanha à metodologia permanente para o combate ao subdesenvolvimento,” Voz da Revolução, no. 71, August 1980: 16–21; “Resultados da Ofensiva no SNASP,” Notícias, 22 February 1982. On the Chinese Yundong campaigns, see Bennet (1976).

63 See Tempo’s special edition on the presidential visit to Niassa, Tempo, Edição Especial, 26 December 1979.

64 Lured by promises of a bountiful future—so convincing were the words of the president that the state would assist them as part of a program for the development of Niassa—some ex-reeducandos agreed to have their relatives sent to this northernmost underdeveloped part of the country. See “Famílias de ex-reeducandos chegaram ao Niassa,” Tempo, 24 August 1980: 4.

65 “Machel’s speech on unjust detentions in re-education camps,” op. cit. See also Machava (2011: 593–609).

66 The first commander of the rebel movement MNR/Renamo, André Matsangaissa (a former Frelimo soldier) had escaped from the Sacudzo re-education camp in Sofala province in 1976. By 1981, with a new leadership and the strong backing of South Africa, Renamo was operating in every province except Niassa and Cabo Delgado. Some authors have linked the rapid expansion of Renamo to the secret execution of some prominent detainees in M’telela, among them Uria Simango. See Cabrita (2000: 100–103).

67 See also “Lançada campanha contra a candonga: Detidos mais de 200 traficantes,” Notícias, 7 December 1981.

68 “Para o centro de reeducação só se vai depois de julgado e condenado,” Notícias, 4 January 1985.

69 AGGPN/PRM – Balanço Historial do Desenvolvimento do Trabalho Policial no Niassa, Lichinga, 18 January 1988.

70 Interview, Fernando Gonçalves, Maputo, 17 February 2015.

71 Interview, José Araújo (Zequinho), Maputo, 18 January 2015.

Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1. Uria Simango at the Nachingwea Trial. Presidents Julius Nyerere and Kenneth Kaunda are seated at the center of the table. (Courtesy of Arquivo do Jornal Notícias)
URL http://books.openedition.org/editionsmsh/docannexe/image/51435/img-1.png
Fichier image/png, 410k
Titre Fig. 2. President Samora Machel addressing detainees at Ruarua Reeducation Camp, Cabo Delgado, October 1981. (Courtesy of Arquivo do Jornal Notícias)
URL http://books.openedition.org/editionsmsh/docannexe/image/51435/img-2.png
Fichier image/png, 496k
Titre Fig. 3. Reeducandos lining up for cornmeal pap in Niassa; undated. (Courtesy of Arquivo do Jornal Notícias)
URL http://books.openedition.org/editionsmsh/docannexe/image/51435/img-3.png
Fichier image/png, 350k

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