Class and the customary: the ambiguous legacy of the Indigenato in Mozambique
Author: O'Laughlin, B
Source: African Affairs, Volume 99, Number 394, January 2000 , pp. 5-42(38)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Abstract:This article looks at the making of the Indigenato, the set of institutions that defined the difference between settler citizen and native subject in colonial Mozambique, and considers its legacy for post-colonial politics. It argues that approaches to the democratization of local governance in rural areas today must recognize that the customary authorities were shaped by a colonial state that was bifurcated in conception but imperfectly so in practice. The Indigenato imposed new oppositions and reconstructed those of gender and ethnicity, but its dualism were continually violated by cross-cutting contradictions of class in the world it interpreted and shaped. An enduring part of the legacy of the Indigenato is a real but ideologically misleading effect: the dualistic opposition of tradition to modernity. This image compromised Frelimo's attempt to construct a unitary socialist society at independence and recurs in contemporary debate in Mozambique over democratization and local governance.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 2000
- African Affairs is published on behalf of the Royal African Society. It publishes articles on recent political, social and economic developments in sub-Saharan countries. Also included are historical studies that illuminate current events in the continent.