The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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About the book

Samora Machel was born in rural Mozambique in 1933 under Portuguese colonial rule and trained as a nurse but abandoned this career to join the fledgling liberation movement Frelimo. He rose through the ranks to become secretary of defence and later president of the movement in 1969. In 1974 he assumed the presidency of the new People's Republic of Mozambique.

In 1977 Frelimo formally adopted Marxist-Leninist ideology, and its policies focused on public health, mass literacy, and organising the rural population into collective forms of production. But first white-ruled Rhodesia, and then apartheid South Africa, supported a brutal anti-government rebellion that by the mid-1980s had spread across Mozambique and decimated it. In October 1986, returning from a summit in Zambia, his plane crashed in mysterious circumstances at Mbuzini in South Africa, killing him and most of his delegation.

This Voices of Liberation: Samora Machel presents the story of Machel’s rise in the liberation movement, and his successes and failures as president of Mozambique. It does so through a biographical introduction, selected translated extracts from both formal and improvised speeches, and interviews. Machel was not a theoretician and wrote little. Nevertheless, he was a compelling orator with a command of multiple registers of Portuguese, and we hear his voice distinctly through his many speeches, and in his interviews. This is the story of an authentic African hero, a man with a vision of a more just society, who died in the service of the liberation of his people.

This book will interest historians and other researchers, academics, and the mainstream reader interested in African history and Southern Africa history in particular.

Product information

Format : 210mm x 148mm
Pages : TBC
ISBN 13 : 978-0-7969-2668-5
Publish Year : January 2024
Rights : World Rights


Part 1: Locating Samora Machel

Mozambique's Political Economy, 1830s-1930s

The Late Nineteenth Century in Southern Mozambique

Labour Migration and Cultural Change

Machel’s Life Under Colonial Rule, 1933-1963

Childhood and Adolescence

A Career in Nursing 0860105194


From Guerrilla Trainee to Secretary of Defence

Prolonged Struggle and Political Division

The Last Phase of the Liberation Struggle

Machel as President of the People’s Republic

Machel and the Struggle for Zimbabwe

Domestic Policy and the Offensives

Internationalising the Conflict with RENAMO

The Crisis of September-October 1986

Machel’s Death at Mbuzini and its Aftermath

Part 2: The Armed Struggle, 1965-1975

A Report on Opening a Front in Eastern Niassa, November 1965

A Message to Frelimo Fighters, September 1967

Opening the Front in Tete Province, March 1968

Eulogy for Eduardo Mondlane, February 1969

Extracts from Two Reports on Eastern Niassa, April 1969

An Interview with Iain Christie, March 1972

A Conversation with Pietro Petrucci, March 1973

A Letter to Father Giuseppe Frizzi, February 1974

A Letter to the Portuguese Prime Minister, April 1975

Remarks at Base Central, Cabo Delgado, May 1975

Interview on Portuguese Television, May 1975

Remarks at a Reception in Pemba, May 1975

Brief Remarks at a Reception in Dondo, May 1975

An Interview with Aquino de Bragança, June 1975

Part 3: The Challenges of Independence, 1975-1980

Television Interview with the BBC, September 1976

An Interview with Pietro Petrucci, May 1976

A Press Conference with Mozambican Journalists, October 1977

‘The Revolution is Irreversible’, February 1978

‘All Together to the Rice Harvest’, June 1978

Meeting with Former Political Prisoners, July 1978

‘Break with Bourgeois Culture’, December 1978

‘Smith will be Defeated’, January 1979

On the Political and Organisational Offensive, March 1980

Two Interviews with Foreign Journalists, June 1980

Talking to Mozambicans Studying in Cuba, August 1980

A Conversation with Augusto de Carvalho, December 1980

Part 4: The Struggle against Destabilisation, 1981-1986

‘Army Officers Must not be Dead Weights’, April 1981

Brief Remarks on the Role of Women, April 1981

A Short Interview with a Cuban Journalist, early 1982

‘Our Sophisticated Weapon’, August 1982

Breakfast in Bissau, December 1983

What the Nkomati Accord will Achieve, April 1984

The Question of Legality, May 1984

An Interview with Joyce Sikakane, September 1984

Meeting Eusébio, February 1985

Extracts from a Speech to the VIII Non-Aligned Summit, September 1986

Part 5: The Legacy of Samora Machel and Popular Memory

Funeral Eulogy – Marcelino dos Santos, 28 October 1986

Message of Condolence from Nelson and Winnie Mandela, 28 October 1986


About the Editors

Colin Darch has a PhD from the University of Bradford and is an honorary researcher at the University of Cape Town, an honorary research fellow of the Human Sciences Research Council, and a ‘pesquisador associado’ in African studies at the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco. He is the author with Amélia Souto of A dictionary of Mozambican history and society (HSRC Press, 2022). Together with David Hedges, he is the editor of the collection Pan-Africanismo e as Perspectivas para a Unidade Africana na Década de 1960 (Editora UFPE, forthcoming).

David Hedges has a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, has taught history in Malawi, and, since 1978, at Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, Mozambique. He was a contributor to the second volume of História de Moçambique edited by Carlos Serra (Maputo, 1983), and was the editor of the third volume in that series, under the title Moçambique no Auge do Colonialismo, 1930-1961 (Maputo, 1993). He is the author of Samora Machel: Retórica Política e Independência em Moçambique (with Colin Darch, EdUFBA, 2018) as well as multiple articles and chapters in both English and Portuguese.

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