Theses defended

The stories of the after: identity processes in the trajectory of "white" Mozambicans in Maputo and Tete after the independence of Mozambique

Fabrício Dias da Rocha

Public Defence date
July 17, 2018
Doctoral Programme
Post-Colonialisms and Global Citizenship
Maria Paula Meneses
This PhD thesis seeks to contribute towards the debate on identification processes in postcolonial contexts, paying special attention to the micro-processes of identity (re) construction of individuals understood as "white" or non-black in Mozambique. Recognizing that the category "white" in Mozambique is fluid and variable, and that there are a plurality of elements (historical, cultural, legal, etc.) that shape the identity processes in this geopolitical context, the focus of this work examines the identity conformation of white people in modern Mozambican history. Therefore, the analytical core of this thesis aim to understand how, from the transition to independence of Mozambique (1973-1975), the subjects of this study, namely people with a lighter skin, of differentiated ancestry, here denominated as "white" Mozambicans, have been reconstructing their socio-identities in the last 40 years of the country's reality.

Considering the historical process of colonial violence that marked Mozambique in the 20th century, I inquire: what was the place reserved for the "whites" of the ex-colony, with the advent of Independence, in the young nation? In this sense, it is worth emphasizing that the inclusion and participation of the "whites" in the new national political project of Mozambique, implemented through emancipation in 1975, was essential for its achievement. This new situation was important to comprehend the identity negotiations advanced by these Mozambicans over the last decades.

In order to understand this national project, in an African context, through a postcolonial perspective, an understanding of the historical processes was fundamental, but specially the collection and analysis of the biographical discourses of the subjects researched through oral narratives in Maputo and Tete, participant observation in diverse contexts and the collection of written documents in archives in Mozambique and Portugal. To this end, with theoretical contributions from postcolonial and decolonial studies, I propose a critical and interdisciplinary reflection on the processes of social identification in the present reality of Mozambique.

Keywords: Identities (re)constructions; Postcolonial studies; "White Mozambicans"; Mozambique; Social identification processes.