Mozambique’s Re-education Camps

Just like you’re doing now, today we were procrastinating in the website Africa is a Country. Unsurprisingly as this website is truly a breath of fresh air for nowadays journalism, we learned something new about Mozambique’s past.

In case you do not know, in this beautiful country of Southern Africa, people lived a civil war from 1977 to 1992, where about one million people died and other five million were displaced. But what we discovered today was the story of the country’s re-education centres in the early beginnings of the civil war. During the first years after the country’s independence (1975), the FRELIMO government established a policy of re-education establishing thousands of camps that were spread around the country. Unemployed people, criminals, prostitutes, single moms, regime opponents, and a surprisingly important number of Jehovah witnesses, were sent as prisoners there, where their lives was marked with violence, torture, sexual harassment and hunger.  Only in 1981, due to international pressure, did Samora Machel suspend the “re-education process”.

Thirty years later, Mozambicans are finally starting to talk about this part of their past. Indeed, Brazilian-born Licínio Azevedo (1951) is telling the story of one particular camp, with his movie “Virgin Margarida”. Check it out here.

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