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He spent his childhood and early adolescence in the rural area of Moamba where his father served as interpreter for the government. His short story collection We Killed Mangy-Dog and Other Stories —published in , the year he was imprisoned—exposes some of the colonial realities suffered by Africans in Mozambique before independence.

In Honwana traveled to Portugal, where he studied law at the University of Lisbon and was subject to restrictions on his foreign travel. He accomplished these objectives and also succeeded in establishing solvent currency, a favorable balance of trade, and surpluses in both the foreign reserves and national budget.

Thus, Mozambique and other Portuguese possessions were to increase production and improve marketing of colonial goods. Throughout his long administration, Salazar encouraged colonial production of Portuguese goods and the emigration of white settlers to Mozambique. The latter policy met with only moderate success. Salazar also promoted assimilation among Mozambican Africans, who had few legal rights unless they qualified as assimilados assimilated ones.

Under this legislation, an indigena indigenous inhabitant was submitted to different judicial and political systems than the colonizers. Theoretically, assimilados enjoyed all the rights and responsibilities of a Portuguese citizen. Africans and those of mixed race who did not satisfy assimilation criteria were instructed to carry identity cards at all times, fulfill stringent labor contracts, and live outside designated European areas.

The indigenas were also denied access to healthcare and education. Although many Africans applied for assimilado status, few actually received it. Moreover, after the requirements that an African had to meet in order to qualify as an assimilado became more stringent.

In the short stories, the social and legal divisions between whites, assimilados, and indigenas are continually emphasized. A provincial council with limited legislative powers was established and the province itself was subdivided into districts and rural jurisdictions.

Matters of local government were handled by district governors who were expected to carry out the policies of the governor general. Administrators of rural jurisdictions were responsible for the direct management of African affairs.

The administrator, who functioned as a constant, visible representation of the administration among the people of the district, ensured that the colonial laws, especially those pertaining to the indigenas, were carried out effectively. The chefe de posto was in charge of tax collection and managed the economic development within his district.

Despite less than ideal farming conditions—sandy soil and often inadequate rainfall—in many regions of the country, Mozambique was primarily agricultural, its people making their living off the land.

Cashew nuts, sisal, sugar, and tea were among the principal crops. While most cotton was produced on plantations in northern Mozambique, African subsistence farmers in all regions could be forced by the government to grow cotton in designated areas and to sell the raw cotton to local concession companies at fixed prices that fell far below those of the world market.

By the mids, , African farmers in Mozambique were engaged in cotton cultivation. In the short stories, Honwana pays particular attention to the plight of African farm workers. As indigenas, Africans were subjected to forced labor chibalo , curfews, restricted movement, and limitations placed on how they earned a living and even their venues of entertainment. The policies and practices of the chibalo system of legalized forced labor changed constantly from the late s until the early s, affecting both rural and urban laborers.

During the mid- to lates, the chibalo system decreed four main categories of work: obligatory work; contract work; resocialization work; and forced farming. These songs created a sort of dialogue among the workers. The lines from this work song reflect the despair and frustration with the indigena reality, specifically the inhumane colonial labor policies and practices of the Portuguese:.

African [s] should devote six months of each year to the services of the government or big enterprises plantations, industries, etc. Significantly, obligatory work policies did not specify how many hours the worker would be required to work per day; rather, the employer decided the number of hours required of all of his workers.

Pay was very low, usually less than 15 escudos per day U. Of the other forms of chibalo, resocialization work was practiced in prisons, on farms, and on roads.

Forced farming, the fourth type of chibalo, was the most commonly practiced policy, affecting the approximately 1 million Africans engaged in subsistence agriculture.

Until the Acto Colonial in , self-farming Africans had to comply with the following rules:. His status as a forcedlabor worker does not permit him to tend to his aches and pains. With the nearby overseer eager to punish those who are not working to his satisfaction, Madala tries with all of his might to conceal his physical pain. Although the overseer does not finish his bottle of wine, Madala notes that he never shares its remains. Maria encourages her father to go and eat.

After Madala gets his food, he observes the overseer talking to Maria in an angry manner. Later, Madala and the other laborers watch as the overseer follows Maria into the field and sexually assaults her.

As he orders the workers back to the field, he holds out his bottle of wine and beckons to Madala, who takes the bottle and finishes its contents in one gulp. The overseer commands the youth to return to work, but the youth does not move. The overseer hits him with the bottle, splitting his scalp open with the second blow, then crushes his face with his boots.

Meanwhile, Madala and the other laborers resume their labors as though nothing has occurred. The story is told by an adolescent boy who observes the dynamics of the relationship between a farm owner and black laborer during the extremely humid nights before the arrival of the nhinguitimo.

Virgula makes the most of farming his fertile land, planning to make a considerable profit on growing vegetables. The administrator asks Virgula about his land, and Virgula explains how his land is large and productive due to its fertile soil.

Later Virgula finds out that the administration has taken his land away from him. Decades earlier, there had been localized opposition attempts against colonialism, which included social banditry and peasant revolts, but lack of organization among the Africans, and the superior armed strength of the Portuguese police force, doomed most of these protests to failure Isaacman, p. From the mids to the mids, however, various anticolonial political organizations began to form throughout Mozambique.

Support for these organizations came mainly from laborers and peasants who had suffered most from the oppressive labor policies and practices implemented by the Portuguese. These intellectuals encouraged student associations, regional mutual aid societies, and other social organizations to adopt a political orientation.

These men generated a wave of interest and activity in the idea of national independence, while encouraging organized resistance to the Portuguese.

The early s found African workers, peasants, and intellectuals in Mozambique vehemently fighting the atrocities inflicted on them by the Portuguese colonial government. African urban workers staged strikes while peasants resisted the forced labor policy of chibalo. In June , the Portuguese army massacred unarmed peasants protesting unjust labor policies and practices in the village of Mueda. The soldiers damaged the post, killed one policeman, and wounded several others.

The landscape and people of the region furnished him with themes, characters, and settings. His journalistic prose and creative poetry inspired the nation.

His dedication to the cause of Mozambican liberation in both his life and his art earned him the praise of FRELIMO—a movement he ardently supported—and the reputation as a pioneer of Mozambican literature.

Costa, Lisbon: Sociedade de Expans o Cultural, Cox, D. Brian, ed. African Writers. Paul Britten Austin. London: Pall Mall , Dorothy Guedes. London: Heinemann, Isaacman, Allen F. Berkeley: University of California Press, Martins, Elisio. Transcribed and presented by Jospeh Kofi Mensah. Kastrup, Denmark: African Studies, Missiaen, Edmond.

Washington, D. Deptartment of Agriculture, Nelson, Harold, ed. Mozambique: A Country Study. Penvenne, Jeanne. Portsmouth, N. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

May 24, Retrieved May 24, from Encyclopedia. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia. Agriculture and labor Despite less than ideal farming conditions—sandy soil and often inadequate rainfall—in many regions of the country, Mozambique was primarily agricultural, its people making their living off the land.

Until the Acto Colonial in , self-farming Africans had to comply with the following rules: Crops for cultivation must include those that would be sold to the government i. Lands to be cultivated by Africans were determined by the government. Africans were obliged always to reside on the land. Africans were obliged to pay any tax the government might impose on them. An African should build a brick house within three years after being considered an independent farmer.

Martins, p. Craveirinha in Andrade, p. Saul, John S. A Difficult Road. New York: Monthly Review,


We Killed Mangy-Dog and Other Stories

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We Killed Mangy-Dog and Other Mozambican Stories – Luis Bernardo Honwana

The book was originally published in Portuguese in and translated into English in The writer, who is also a documentary filmmaker and photographer, wrote the novel when he was 22 years old, while a political prisoner of PIDE. According to Patrick Chabal , "Honwana greatly influenced the post-colonial generation of younger prose writers and has rightly been regarded as stylistically accomplished. The innocent and naive characters are used to expose "the inherent racism in the Portuguese colonial government. They "raise questions about social exploration, racial segregation , and class and education distinctions.

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