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Nampula  

Daria Trentini

The city of Nampula is the capital of Nampula Province, an agricultural region situated in the Nacala Development Corridor connecting Malawi and Zambia to the coastal port of Nacala. Founded at the beginning of the 20th century by the Portuguese army, Nampula was located at the crossroads of trading and migration routes that had connected the interior of Southern Africa to the Indian Ocean for centuries. Under colonial occupation, Nampula served as a military garrison for launching military operations to subdue and occupy the interior of northern Mozambique, the last undefeated region of the Portuguese empire. The subsequent construction of infrastructure and the advent of commercial agriculture transformed Nampula into the main economic and administrative hub of the northern region of Mozambique. Following independence in 1975, the demographic and territorial expansion of Nampula was informed by socialist governance as well as by a prolonged civil war that brought thousands of refugees from the surrounding rural areas. The economic liberalizations in the 1990s and the mineral discoveries in the northern region of Cabo Delgado in the 2010s consolidated the role of Nampula as a commercial and trade center for national and international capital. The economic boom—alongside increasing rural poverty and ongoing internal and external conflicts—has continued to attract migrants from the rural regions, as well as from across the country and continent, making Nampula the third-largest city in Mozambique, with a population of 743,125 and an area of 404 square kilometers.

Article

Mia Couto  

Irene Marques

Mia Couto (b. 1955) is a contemporary Mozambican writer and biologist. Writing in Portuguese, Couto is the most prolific writer from Mozambique, and his works have been translated into more than thirty languages. He is the author of over thirty books, including, poetry, short stories, chronicles, creative essays, novels, and children’s and young adult books. His works have won several national and international prizes and have been adapted to film, theater, and television. His topics cover Mozambican culture and religion, ontologies and epistemologies, orality, Portuguese colonialism, anticolonial resistance, wars of liberation, personal and collective identity, postcolonial nation building, civil war, memory, trauma, violence and amnesia, neoliberal international agendas of development, cultural syncretism, African “authenticity,” corruption, women’s oppression and agency, and gender fluidity. He is considered a highly innovative writer, known for inventing a plethora of neologisms; his literary creations show an intrinsic link between orality, poetry, and an evolving and dynamic language that draws heavily from the multiple cultural and linguistic realities of Mozambique. This creative linguistic manipulation is primarily present in his earlier work. However, Couto’s script is far from being a mere play on aesthetics—it is a literature fundamentally preoccupied with political, cultural, historical, and pragmatic matters, reflecting important aspects of Mozambique’s past and present historical and sociopolitical contexts.