Webinar | Policredos Working Group

Identities: a “bogeyman” of societies of northern Mozambique?

Chapane Mutiua (Centro de Estudos Africanos da Universidade Eduardo Mondlane)

January 29, 2021, 17h00 (GMT)

Online event

Moderator and comments: Maria Paula Meneses (CES)


Several debates and research reports on the conflict in Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique repeatedly point to ethnic and religious identities as the main factors causing the violence that not only has taken the lives of many citizens, but is also creating many displaced people and generating more poverty. From the perspective of cultural studies that place the formation of identities in the interconnection between cultural memory, collective memory, and history (Assmann and Czaplicka 1995; Assmann 2012; Assmann 2013; Scott 2002), the present reflection seeks to find the main moments and historical elements of societies in northern Mozambique, as well as their contribution to the configuration and perception of the most recent events.

This reflection is based on several field and archive researches and literature review on the concept of identity and history of Mozambique. We argue that on the one hand ethnic and religious identities which are often pointed out as the driving force for armed violence in Cabo Delgado constitute a complex "scapegoat" if framed in the long history of cultural exchanges which has helped to forge the ethnographic chess we have today; and on the other hand, we should increasingly look at the operationalisation of existing “development” models as generators of conflict attributed to ethnic and religious identities.

Bio note 

Chapane Mutiua holds a degree in History from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of Eduardo Mondlane University. Masters in Historical Studies from the History Department of the University of Cape Town. PhD candidate in African Studies at the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures of the University of Hamburg. He is a full-time researcher at the Centre for African Studies of the University of Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique.


This activity will be accessible through the Zoom platform and will be limited to number of available places:

ID: 897 9780 8853 | Password: 568875

We appreciate that all participants keep the microphone muted until the moment(s) of debate. The host of the session reserves the right to expel the participant who does not respect the rules of the room.

Online open access activities such as this one do not grant a declaration of participation since such document will only be provided in events that provide for prior registration and controlled access.