First class primary school certificate (August 10, 1916). In: Arquivo Histórico de Moçambique. Cx. 1621


This study focused on the dynamics of the Portuguese colonial politics of difference established in 20th century Mozambique. The colonial paradox of incorporation and differentiation of African populations into Portuguese citizenship was related to two categories of legal belonging based on a racialized social hierarchy. In this process, between 1917 and 1961, African societies under Portuguese colonial rule were legally categorized as either “native” (“indígenas”) or “assimilated” (“assimilados”). To obtain the “assimilated” legal category, it was necessary to prove the mastery of reading, writing and oral use of Portuguese-language. The status of assimilado, in other words, expected Mozambicans to somehow engage with writing – and perhaps also archival – practices. The main sources of this research are African-authored processes and applications for the condition of assimilado located in the Historical Archives of Mozambique.

Researcher Matheus Serva Pereira will develop this study. 

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