Social Memory in Mandlakazi (Mozambique)
In 2010 I continued my research in Mozambique, which included: 1) ethnographic research in Mandlakazi, addressing the centrality of sacred trees and tree groves in the construction of local memory; 2) investigation at the Museum of Revolution (Maputo), a central tool in the construction of a post-independence official memory; and 3) research on the construction of Portuguese colonial memory.
My research has shown that some sacred trees and tree groves are identified with ancestral figures that held political power, and as a result become integral part of local history. Highlighting the role of landscapes (particularly historic and sacred landscapes) in memory construction, my work goes beyond the perception of landscapes as simple settlement patterns or economic relations with the environment. Instead this project reveals that intangible elements (e.g., rituals, community history and webs of kinship relations) are embedded and made visible through the use of landscapes and elements of nature in the construction of a collective memory—one that encompasses both the community of the living and of the ancestors.
Sacred tree at the Xirrime khokholo