Academic journal article African Studies Quarterly. This work builds on Professor Newitt's previous studies on Portuguese colonial history and the subsequent post-colonial connections. He adopted a longue duree historical approach in the study of Mozambique formerly Portuguese East Africa. He selected a wide range of themes, ranging from a description of the country's environment and ethnography; the pre-colonial centuries; the creation of a Portuguese colony; colonized experiences; and the post-colonial political and socio-economic developments, including the harrowing civil war between FRELIMO and RENAMO between and The country has various natural resources, including its rivers, lakes, mountains, and the coastal waters of the Indian Ocean.
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Allen Isaacman, M alyn N ewitt. A Short History of Mozambique. Malyn Newitt is one of the leading historians of Lusophonic Africa. He has spent a lifetime conducting research on Mozambique and, to a lesser degree, Angola.
The present study effectively summarizes and updates the latter. A Short History of Mozambique is organized into nine chronological chapters ranging from the sixteenth century to the present. Newitt devotes almost a third of the book to the precolonial. By taking the long view, Newitt is able to highlight the continuities that cut across these somewhat artificial divides as well as the ruptures precipitated by colonial rule, the socialist movement, and the more recent neoliberal era.
He stresses the roles played by droughts and famines, political violence, slavery, and forced labor in the history of the young nation. Newitt is particularly attentive to ways in which local, national, and transnational factors shaped Mozambican history.
One of the other real strengths of A Short History of Mozambique is the way the author integrates important changes in Indian Ocean societies, in South Africa, and in Portugal into his analysis of Mozambique.
A Short History of Mozambique , like his book, is very much a political history. It highlights the growth of a number of precolonial states including the Karanga kingdoms, the Maravi state, and the Gaza Ngoni and the growth of Portuguese warlords in the Zambezi Valley; he also accurately stresses that the process of state formation was neither linear nor irreversible. The growth and transformation of these political entities was linked to political violence, rural dislocation, slave raiding, and famines.
The study ends with a concise summary of the political and economic challenges Mozambique faces today. He documents how Southern Mozambique was transformed into a labor reserve for the South African gold mines and farms, while the central part of the colonial state became entangled with neighboring Southern Rhodesia. He also discusses the system of forced labor and the imposition of brutal cotton and rice regimes, which further impoverished the countryside. Quite to the contrary, at the moment of independence, Mozambique inherited a distorted and underdeveloped economy dependent on the apartheid regime in South Africa, whose legacy continues until today.
We learn little about the organization of labor that produced the gold, ivory, and slaves exported in Indian Ocean trade. Similarly, the religious and cultural dimensions of kingship receive short shrift, as do the ways that power was contested at the local, household, and community levels in the precolonial period.
Most significantly, Mozambican women are rendered invisible throughout much of this book. These concerns notwithstanding, A Short History of Mozambique is a clearly written and well-documented study. Hopefully, Newitt will have an opportunity to address some of the critical social and cultural dimensions of daily life in the next edition. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.
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Malyn Newitt. 2017. A Short History of Mozambique
Professor Malyn Newitt