Revolutionary pedagogies? History of the education projects in Angola and Mozambique (1960s-1980s)

March 1, 2023 to February 28, 2026
36 months

The key objective of the project EDU-AM - Revolutionary pedagogies: history of educational projects in Angola and Mozambique (1960-1980) - is the study of revolutionary pedagogical experiences in Southern Africa, focusing on the roots, conflicts and impacts associated with the attempts to implement considerable projects of public education and a revolutionary education for citizenship.

The novelty of this project, interdisciplinary by nature, is structured around two questions, aiming:
1) to expose the course of education and political thought in Angola and Mozambique, taking into account both the specificity of the context and the vernacular sources, beyond the dominant Anglophone and Francophone narratives;
2) to understand the multiple political inspirations, meanings, as well as conflicts and impacts entailed in these revolutionary projects within the context of political emancipation of southern Africa.

These questions will help to unveil experiences of citizenship that have created 'new' subjects in postcolonial societies, and, in terms of history writing, to deepen the meaning of post-imperial lives, including struggles for radical ruptures with colonial heritages, from a historical, cultural and political perspective.

At a time when the public history of Angola and Mozambique is still dominated by retellings of the colonial past and the anticolonial nationalist struggle, and when the international lens remains focused on the Cold War/post-independence civil violence, this project seeks to understand the political scope of the educational options within the revolutionary projects developed in this part of the world, also seen as an alternative, vernacular project of citizenship. Angola and Mozambique, which achieved independence in 1975 in the aftermath of bloody nationalist struggles, were part of the regional colonial-capitalist subsystem in Southern Africa; throughout this struggle, political connections were established, theorisations deepened and political innovations promoted. The roots of the new educational projects in Angola and Mozambique can be traced back to the armed liberation struggle, and included support from progressive forces from different contexts and collaboration with socialist countries (European, Asian and Cuba).


At the heart of this project is the production of a film in which women and men that were intertwined with the educative policies – nationalist leaders, officials involved in the educational projects, politicians or ordinary citizens -talk about this experiences in their words interwoven with photographs and documents from their personal archives.

EDU-AM results will be fundamental to illustrate how the revolutionary projects in Southern Africa closely interconnected school-going and sovereignty: self-determination and independence took on meaning through newfound access to education as citizenship. In parallel, to study how public education—in terms of both material and ideological investment— became one of the its most important achievements. Thus considering education for citizenship a key aspect of the modern history of Southern Africa, EDU-AM will contribute to understand how local histories shaped not just individual development initiatives, but the very paradigms that framed them. In this way, EDU-AM foregrounds the African dimensions of a global story: the spread and then retrenchment of public education during the 20th century. By adding a seldom ignored side to Portugal’s colonial history, EDU-AM fits within the current context of political discussions on the colonial past and its results will contribute to the Portuguese agenda for culture and heritage addressing topics such as cultural transits, identity, memory and decolonization.


Centro de Documentação 25 de Abril, da Universidade de Coimbra

postcolonial history, citizenship and the "new man", education in political transitions, decolonization
Funding Entity
Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology