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"I'll Bury You in the Border!": Women's Struggles Over Land, Memory, and Community in Postwar Facazisse

Wuxaka ra tinhwari hi ku handza swinwe.
(Kinship of partridges comes from scratching in the soil together.)

— Armando Ribeiro, 601 Provérbios Changanas



Our first interview trip to Ngungwe, the Renamo camp hugging the South African border in the shadow of the Lebombo hills, was something of an event. Even in October 1995, before the resumption of heavy rains after three years of drought transformed the land of western Magude from dull grey-sage and dusty beige hues to luxuriant greens and chocolate browns—and the roads from hard-packed clay to quagmires of car-swallowing mud—Ngungwe was a difficult place to reach, physically and psychologically, for the people who filled the white Toyota pickup I hired for our first overnight sojourn there. women at Ngungwe River Ruti and I had made one previous trip to Ngungwe a few weeks earlier, accompanied by a retired schoolteacher, Ernesto Muhlanga, and his wife, Adelaida Muzimba, who had taken great interest in our work in that corner of the district. The purpose of that brief visit had been to pay a call on the Renamo "administrator" (reportedly a former schoolteacher himself) in order to introduce ourselves, explain my project, and request permission to interview women living in "his" territory. Although at that time Magude district officials had yet to venture out to Ngungwe, Ernesto and his neighbors in the newly resettled village of Nhiuana (Phadjane) assured us that Renamo-held areas were no longer dangerous, that Renamo ex-combatants were living peacefully with so-called "wives" (female captives) and children acquired during the war, and that anyone who wished to visit could do so freely, as long as they first paid a courtesy call to the Renamo "chief." 1


It was clear, however, when we got to Ngungwe that for Ernesto and Adelaida the journey had dramatic and deeply emotional meanings. Their memories of Renamo's savage actions in Phadjane less than a decade before—culminating, in August 1988, in a massacre of women and children at the Phadjane aldeia communal, followed by the burning of the settlement to the ground—made this first peacetime encounter with "the enemy" a terrifying prospect. More profoundly, though, this first visit also represented for them a deliberate act of reconciliation, a brave effort to reintegrate "that frightening land" where so many people had suffered and died into the landscape of their postwar world. The half-incredulous and minutely detailed stories the couple repeated to their children and neighbors once we were safely back at their home made this meaning of the trip very clear, and helped me to understand why, when Ruti and I returned to Nhiuana a few weeks later in preparation for our second Ngungwe trip, we were surrounded by men and women—mostly women—who wished to accompany us to the Renamo settlement.

This second trek to Ngungwe also demonstrated to me, more intensely than I had expected, the gendered quality of people's relationship to land and landscape in Magude, and the particularly powerful role of land as a medium for women's memories of shared experience. Although our male and female passengers demonstrated a similar interest in taming Ngungwe, in redefining the place and its people as harmless in the uncertain early aftermath of the war, the men and women who accompanied us were heading there for distinctly different purposes. Ernesto Muhlanga and the other male passengers were going to assess the political situation and generally scout around; the women, to sell bread, look for relatives, and confirm or disprove rumors that the residents of Ngungwe "were eating well" (that is, better than they). Sitting huddled with the women in the back of the pickup for the last hour or so of the trip, I became aware of another layer of gender difference. women riding in truck to Ngungwe While the men either sat silently or talked sporadically among themselves, the women kept up a constant rush of conversation about the landscape we rode bumpily past. Ernesto's wife Adelaida, who never forgot that I had come to Mozambique to "study," pointed out every variety of flora and fauna she could see along the roadside and named each one painstakingly for me in Shangaan. Her observations prompted the other women to augment Adelaida's list with relevant details and stories, such as an account of a famine during the colonial period that had reduced people to eating the tiny white berries of the nhlangaume bush.

Among themselves, however, and to me when I asked, women also talked about the remnants of history visibly inscribed on the deserted land. Grassy patches suggesting overgrown cultivated fields, skeletal pole-frames of huts and granaries, tangles of thorn-branch fencing from old corrals, occasional cement shells of valungu homes and shops, stripped structures of former administrative buildings (and signs warning of the presence of land mines) at the little ghost town of Macaene—these traces of the past on the landscape each provoked a moment of remembering from the women, and the memories Adelaida and her friends spoke aloud consisted mainly of the names and life stories of the people who, usually against their will, had left these traces behind.

landscape en route to Ngungwe landscape en route to Ngungwelandscape en route to Ngungwe

landscape en route to Ngungwe landscape en route to Ngungwe

bombed tank, NgungweThe women's most eloquent reminiscence, though, was not an oral narrative but a collective act I witnessed soon after we arrived at Ngungwe. Somewhat to my surprise, the Renamo leader (whom we knew only as Felizberto) offered to show us the charred ruins and human skeletal remains that marked the site on the Ngungwe River where a tank full of Frelimo soldiers had been burned by the rebels in 1987. 2 bombed tank, Ngungwe While I stood talking with the men, Ruti and the other women wandered over to the edge of the river, where each of them gathered a handful of dirt and carefully wrapped and knotted it into one end of the nguvu tied around her waist. No one commented on their actions at the time, but when we were back in Nhiuana two days later I saw Adelaida sprinkle some dirt into a pot of tea she was boiling for herself and her husband. Ernesto laughed when he noticed me watching and explained his wife's action as "one of those old customs," a ritual measure intended, he said, to protect people from catching cold. 3 When I asked Adelaida later, she told me something a little different: "We drink it because we're happy. We're happy because we walked upon their land." 4

This chapter examines one aspect of the complex relationship between land and historical memory for women in Magude. As the Ngungwe story illustrates, the landscape contains a range of mnemonic meanings—and mementos, or switsundzuxo—for rural women, whose cultural responsibility for farming and food production was intensified by over a century of male labor migration to South Africa. For these women, arable land is the most mundane yet also the most potent vehicle imaginable for negotiating and remembering experience, female community, and social change. As I have indicated in previous chapters, the expulsion of women from familiar agrarian settings during the Renamo war represented a disaster more disruptive than any they, their families or their ancestors had ever undergone. Certainly, the depth of frustration women expressed in interviews when complaining about the war-induced destruction of the "old ways" stemmed in large part from the fact that so many of them were still, in 1995-96, living somewhere other than their prewar home, on land they did not know and could not consider their own.

In their preoccupation with returning to their marhumbini (place of ruins, deserted village) in the years immediately after the civil war, the elderly women of Magude were not alone. The resettlement of the Mozambican countryside after the signing of the Rome Peace Accord in 1992 attracted considerable attention from national policymakers and international donors alike, and inspired an impressive body of research on postwar land politics from the national to the local level. 5 Much of this research, which focused on land conflicts that emerged as rural resettlement efforts collided with official (and unofficial) plans for the development of the country's land resources, addressed, at least implicitly, debates surrounding the reformulation of Mozambique's national land law. The question of how to protect the land rights of peasants and at the same time promote private investment figured prominently in these debates, and concern for women's land rights—accompanied by recognition that women were the land's principal users and caretakers—was a persistent thread in public discussion. Yet the specific historical ways in which women had organized their relationship to the land—their strategies for obtaining fields, their notions of land tenure, their land-use practices and farming culture—remained neglected subjects, despite general acknowledgement that rural women's lives would be profoundly affected by land-law reform in the postwar era of World Bank-financed reconstruction. 6

In Magude, even as late as 1996, few small-scale farmers were aware of pending changes to statutory land law. Indeed, in more remote areas near the South African border and in the Transvaal refugee settlements where thousands of displaced Magude families were still residing, many people were not yet convinced that the Renamo war was truly over or that resettlement of their prewar homes was a sensible option at that time. 7 Indeed, Magude's returnees were already experiencing many of the land problems researchers had documented elsewhere in the country: conflicts between small-scale farmers and local commercial farmers (agricultores) 8 over riverine fields; rival land claims among returnees and deslocados; illicit land occupation by white South Africans with shady Renamo connections; and foreign and Mozambican private interests scrambling to acquire colonial properties, former state farms, and new land concessions. 9 So far, these problems had been most serious near the district capital, Magude town, where access to alluvial soils along the Nkomati River, combined with proximity to economic infrastructures, basic amenities, and security (during the war), had enhanced commercial land values in a district known for its current desolation and its perennial vulnerability to drought.

Postwar land tensions were particularly acute in the locality of Facazisse, where I lived for the duration of my fieldwork. Located four kilometers from Magude town just above the left bank of the Nkomati River, the site of one of the Swiss Mission's first churches in Mozambique, Facazisse had already experienced competitive land struggles for more than a century, as local farmers, missionaries, Portuguese settlers, and the colonial and postcolonial states vied for the rich nyaka soils of the Nkomati river plain. Land pressures in this area mounted steadily after the mid-1980s with the formal and informal distribution of fields to deslocados from elsewhere in the district. The situation became particularly acrimonious after the war as Facazisse returnees discovered that strangers were farming their land and had no immediate plans for leaving. In late 1996 these tensions peaked when people attributed the death of a local woman to a new form of witchcraft known as xifula, and rumor blamed a woman—a deslocada—who had borrowed land from the dead woman during the war and refused to give it up.

At first glance, Facazisse's postwar land struggles appear to follow a pattern that Gregory Myers once described as a "chaotic movement of people competing with one another for [scarce] resources." 10 Closer scrutiny, however, suggests that this explanation is inadequate for Facazisse, and that the social meaning of the land conflict I witnessed was a far cry from chaotic. Facazisse's most serious postwar land tensions—surrounding the fairness of methods of land allocation, resentment of deslocados who refused to give up borrowed land, and disputes about the boundaries of cultivated fields—were indeed often articulated, in popular discourse, in terms of land scarcity; yet many of their protagonists had more land than they were able to cultivate. Moreover, the vast majority of these tensions involved female farmers and concerned not merely questions of land access but of who could legitimately make and enforce land-management decisions. Perhaps most fundamentally, these disputes drew attention to women's historically constituted understanding of local land rights and land-tenure traditions. Postwar land conflicts, in other words, were also struggles over the gendered construction of community and authority in Facazisse, and over the continuing power of feminine historical memory to shape the outcome of those struggles in women's favor.

Failure to examine postwar land politics from local historical, cultural, and gendered perspectives has perpetuated the stereotype (much deployed in Mozambique's land-law debate) that "customary law" invariably "discriminates against women" 11 and obscures how earlier changes in land administration negatively affected many female farmers. For women in postwar Facazisse, cultivated fields were more than just patches of soil for growing crops; they were also a source of female social and ritual power and a physical inscription of women's efforts to negotiate community boundaries in a context where patriliny and chiefly politics granted women little influence over such matters. Oral testimony—from women and men—depicted traditional land administration (the "ways of long ago") as a largely feminine domain in which women's de facto control over land allocation and use conferred collective responsibility for the moral and material well-being of the chiefdom. Equally important, women's everyday responsibilities for farming drew them into habitual contact with one another through shared daily and seasonal routines related to the land, fostering—and encouraging women themselves to foster (or "cultivate")—strong bonds of land-rooted community among them. In interviews and in everyday discourse, women constructed this "cultivating community" explicitly in kinship terms. The elasticity and permeability of its boundaries and the networks of affection and obligation within it had helped women in Facazisse to survive the vicissitudes of the twentieth century, not least by offering them a range of informal avenues for obtaining land.

During the same period, however, new systems of land management introduced by missionaries, the colonial state, and Frelimo district officials eroded women's authority and autonomy in this sphere, a process dramatically accelerated by the introduction of emergency land-distribution measures to accommodate the massive influx of deslocados to Magude town during the war. In 1995-96, denied what they considered their rightful customary forms of influence, subjected to new male land chiefs who seemed indifferent to women's knowledge and needs, and increasingly thrust into land arrangements they had not chosen for themselves, women were battling one another over the boundaries of community being "scratched"—to echo a Shangaan proverb—into the soils of Facazisse. In women's grim campaign to preserve some control over the social definition of the landscape, even the tiniest strip of ground assumed life-or-death significance, and the lines distinguishing real from fictive kin were suddenly emphasized or redrawn. As the three case studies presented in the final section of this chapter illustrate, while some women began to close ranks, sealing off the boundaries of the cultivating community, others turned to xifula witchcraft as the only effective means of recalling—and perhaps enforcing—the inclusive farming ethic of "long ago." What was at stake in women's battle to conserve this agrarian custom was serious indeed: the power the "ways of long ago" had bestowed on them by virtue of their collective role as tenders of the land.

Gender and Custom: Women's Memories of Traditional Land-Management Practices


Most academic discussions of Shangaan customary land law have focused on the powers of the hosi (chief) as supreme custodian and arbiter of the collectively owned land resources of the tiko (chiefdom) and on the role of male-lineage authorities—subchiefs (singular, ndhuna) and village/homestead headmen (singular, munumzane)—in making land-allocation decisions. 12 photo of women farmers According to the model of tradition that this scholarship describes, the chief divides the tiko into subdistricts (singular, ganga or muganga), each of which he assigns to one of his tindhuna. In turn, each ndhuna divides his land so that every munumzane can allocate fields to each family group or household within his muti (homestead). Family group in this context refers to an agnatically linked man (the munumzane, his brothers, their married sons), that man's wife or wives, and their offspring; this unit in turn consists of the houses (singular, yindlu) formed by each married woman with her children. A muti may also contain more-distant kinfolk and nonrelated dependents, and these individuals will each have their own house in the muti as well. Officially, it is the munumzane's responsibility to ensure that everyone in his charge has sufficient land for farming, in accordance with the guiding principle of the customary system that all members of the tiko, male and female alike, are guaranteed use rights to as much land as required for subsistence. Muti headmen, in this view, also serve as the front line in negotiating outsiders' access to land, although the hosi's approval must be sought whenever such a transaction occurs. 13

According to this model, the linchpin of the customary land system is lovolo-contracted marriage. When a man marries, his family gives lovolo (bridewealth) to the family of the bride. The offering of lovolo represents, among other things, a guarantee by the groom's family that the bride will have the land she needs for residence and agriculture. 14 So important is lovolo in organizing access to land that, in theory, one of the munumzane's first tasks when a male homestead member marries is to award him one of the muti's fields for his bride. Similarly, the normative pressures and advantages for a woman to remain at her marital homestead (vukatini) are great: According to the formal rules of patriliny, women are rarely permitted to inherit or hold land independently, and they acquire secure usufruct rights only through lifelong lovolo marriage. 15 Thus women who are not successful at marriage (childless women, spinsters, divorcees, widows turned away by their in-laws) are presumed to suffer great discrimination with regard to customary land rights. Even the parents of such a woman, according to this the model, will not welcome a delinquent daughter back into the landholding group of their homestead if they have already "eaten" the lovolo they acquired for her.

Insistence on the oppressively patriarchal character of Shangaan society has been something of an orthodoxy in scholarship on southern Mozambique, and there is certainly an element of truth in this portrayal. 16 Indigenous land systems, however, are enormously more diverse than most academic formulations allow. During the period of my fieldwork, women (and, ironically, most men) all over Magude district emphasized the flexible and situationally specific character of customary practices when describing them to me, stressing the extreme unlikelihood that any woman, whatever her marital or social circumstances, would be left completely landless ("What would she eat?" one man asked me incredulously). 17 More importantly, women's accounts of land acquisition according to custom stressed not their dependence on the rule-bound judgments of a male patrilineal hierarchy but their relationships with female kin and the weight of women's subjective choices in determining the use and allocation of arable land. Women not only represented traditional land management as a feminine realm in which everyday decisions did not need to involve men. They also perceived themselves as having ample room to maneuver against, around, and within a system whose formal rules and precepts were indeed stacked against them.

The remainder of this section summarizes what women from Facazisse and elsewhere in Magude district told me about the "old ways" of land administration. Oral testimony was remarkably consistent on this subject, both among women and across gender lines. However, women's constructions of custom related to land emphasized practical experience over normative principles in a way men's typically did not. And whereas men often felt confident speculating or generalizing about matters, past or present, about which they had little first-hand knowledge, women were reluctant to "lie" by speaking of things their "eyes [had] never seen." Grounding their claims in their own lives and in teachings passed on by mothers and grandmothers, women discussed land acquisition and land use by narrating traditions whose meaning becomes clearer if we approach them as traditions—that is, as collective narrative constructions of the past—rather than as rules of an abstract tenure system. 18 Women's representations of a past that extends from the late nineteenth century to the eve of the Renamo war highlight agrarian cultural continuity, social harmony, the timelessness of customary practices, and the delicate but crucial balance between conformity to the milawu (laws) of the ancestors and deference to the impulses of one's heart. If I appear to be essentializing tradition in what follows, that is because women themselves depicted the "ways of long ago" as timeless and unchanging, identifying them principally through contrast with the mahanyelo ya swoswi (ways of now), which they considered the product of Portuguese and, especially, Frelimo intervention.

Women confirmed that lovolo marriage was the most conventional avenue of land access available to them within the customary system. However, they declared that rather than having to wait for the munumzane or husband to show her where to farm, a new bride initially obtained land at her vukatini through her n'wingi (mother-in-law). After farming together on the latter's fields for the first year or two after her marriage, the young wife was authorized—again, by her husband's mother, who may or may not have discussed the matter with men in the muti—to open her own nsimu (field), either next to her n'wingi's or elsewhere. If the young woman's husband lived at home, he would probably accompany his wife in her search for a suitable location, perhaps suggest a place for her if she was not familiar with local growing conditions, and usually help her with tree-cutting and plowing. But because most men spent a good portion of their adult lives working in South Africa, in their absence wives were free to select their first and subsequent field sites independently, anywhere within the ganga in which they resided.

What happened to a woman's land if she divorced or was abandoned or widowed depended partly on the circumstances in which her marriage ended and on the quality of her relationships with female residents of her vukatini, notably her vingi (here, referring to her husband's birth-mother and her co-wives), her husband's grandmothers, her own co-wives if she had any, and her unmarried sisters-in-law. In the case of divorce, if the wife was not held responsible for the breakup or if she and her husband were judged equally at fault, she could technically continue to cultivate fields she had obtained through marriage, although she might grow tired of seeing her former in-laws and eventually give the land up. 19 In the case of abandonment or widowhood (even where a widow rejected leviratic marriage), if the woman had established a solid presence at her vukatini—if she had worked hard, formed friendships with the other women, and behaved with xichavo (respect) toward her husband and elders—she would normally be not only permitted but encouraged to remain a resident of the muti and she and her children would continue to enjoy use rights to her in-laws' land. 20 After some time she could even have relationships with other men, as long as she continued to live at her vukatini and the men "visited" her there. 21

If a woman's marriage ended under conditions that made it impossible for her to stay with her husband's family, or if she was unwilling to accept the terms on which she could remain, interviewees unanimously insisted that she could return to the community where she was born and put herself back into the hands of her parents. In the chiefdom where a woman belonged, by right of birth, to the vinyi va tiko (owners of the land), she would always have access to land for subsistence and her children would have secure land rights there as well. 22 A woman's reputation might suffer if she failed to fulfil lovolo obligations; at the very least, her own lineage's disappointment in her—at an ideological if not a personal level—would be marked through social practices that served as reminders of how she had let her family down. (For example, a woman who returned to her birth community before her parents had repaid lovolo would usually not live within their muti but in her own hut alongside theirs, to signify that she was no longer counted as a member of her father's lineage). Nonetheless, birth-based belonging to the tiko guaranteed her access to land, initially from her father's homestead but later, after she had had a year or two to settle down, in any available place where she chose to farm. These fields would be hers, independent of her father, and she would be free to transfer them to her children when she became too old to cultivate them herself. 23

Significantly, the themes that resonated most forcefully through women's testimony, and on which women's memories uniformly converged, sidestepped the issue of male land control altogether. Women emphasized three features of customary land administration: their own autonomous actions in transforming misava (soil), which belongs to no one, into masimu (fields) they considered theirs; the crucial link (manifest through the health of the land) between the well-being of the chiefdom and respect for the ritual and moral authority of elderly women; and the ways in which women's shared responsibility for agriculture fostered strong, land-rooted bonds of vuxaka (kinship) and community among them. Traditional land management, as women represented it, was a feminine domain of rural society, operating in inverted counterpoint to the rules and structures of patriliny—a domain, to put it bluntly, in which women ran the show. Here, through the daily weave and rhythm of their farming activities, women exercised powerful influence over the social definition of the landscape, patrolling the boundaries of the tiko not as a political unit but as a community literally carved into the land.

According to the old ways, women asserted, whether you were at your vukatini or in the village of your birth, you never had to "ask for" (kukombela) or "be given" (kunyikiwa) land to farm. Magude district soil map On the contrary, you opened your fields in la urhandzaka hi ko (a place that you like)—a place that strikes you as "beautiful" (kusaseka, kuxonga) or that "makes you happy" (kutsakisa) or promises to make you "grow fat" (kunona). To determine whether a site was pleasing, women considered soil type, crop suitabilities, and the contours of the terrain. The soils of Magude district are extremely varied in composition and quality, and a crucial factor in determining the real agronomic effect of rainfall and temperature on harvests. The following list presents what interviewees identified to me as the major soil types of Magude, along with their rainfall requirements:

nyaka rich light-black, clayey soil, found mostly along banks of major rivers; with normal to heavy rainfall it is extremely fertile, but in drier periods practically uncultivable
ntlhava very sandy grey soil; can be cultivated even in periods of low rainfall, considered the best land to have in times of drought
hondzosi heavy red-brown clayey soil; requires normal rainfall to be cultivable
rhaka heavy black, clayey soil; extremely fertile under conditions of normal to heavy rainfall; usually requires a plow or tractor to cultivate
mananga light brown or yellow-brown, sandy-clayey soil; often very acidic, with excessive drainage; occurs in arid areas, where high summer temperatures can cause water to be evaporated rapidly or "swallowed" after it hits the ground
nhlangasi usually a swamp or bog where water remains above ground only after heavy rains; subsoil retains water well, so can be cultivated even in periods of low rainfall
ripfule light grey or grey-brown sandy-clayey soil; extremely dusty in dry periods, slick and muddy when wet; very fertile, but only after moderate to heavy rainfall; plants burn quickly here in intense summer temperatures

Other less common soil types exist which are mostly blends of two or more of the above soils, for example manangana, which is a mixture of mananga and ntlhava and easier to cultivate than pure mananga. Elevation can modify soil quality, particularly in the case of a valley or depression (nkova) where the ground will retain humidity longer and so be productive even when land of the same soil type in a higher area is rendered uncultivable because of drought. Women expressed great pride in their ability to read the land for these subtle differences in agricultural potential, emphasizing the highly individual—even private—nature of the process of field selection. In the words of one woman, "You go, you look around in the bush, for a place that makes you happy. You reach the place that pleases you. You make a clearing for a field. Wherever you stop, that's up to [known by] you. You don't make noise with anyone about it." 24

Once a woman had selected a site, staking her claim to it involved cutting down unwanted trees, which she did with or without a man's help; removing brush and grassy undergrowth to make a cleared area in which to plant; and creating mindzelekana (boundaries) around the outside of the field, usually by digging a shallow ditch or path along the perimeter. Tree-cutting, like tree-planting, constituted the closest thing to individual ownership rights in women's conception of this system; mindzelekana, in turn, separated (physically and conceptually) a woman's nsimu from uncultivated, communally owned misava and from other individual fields. Both transformative acts enabled a woman to claim "i nsimu ya mina" (this field is mine), whether the plot had been created on previously forested commons or on land formally owned by a munumzane or male-lineage authority—and even though she would readily acknowledge that the misava (soil) of the plot still did not belong to her. Once a woman had cleared, demarcated, and begun to cultivate a particular spot on the landscape, that field was hers in the sense that she could defend her occupation of it against rival claimants and transfer it temporarily or permanently to someone else. 25 Such a transfer might be construed as a loan (of use rights) or a gift (of use and proprietary rights, as women understood them). These transactions then became legitimizing links in a chain defined not by lineage identity but by relationship to the woman who first opened that particular piece of land for cultivation. In other words, a woman did not have to have cleared the field to call it hers; if it was given to her by the original owner or by another woman who acquired it in this manner (and so on), the field was effectively hers until she passed it on to someone else.

In women's view, two key principles underlay the traditional system of land management: first, individual field size depended only on a farmer's ntamu or matimba (strength); and second, every woman's goal was (or should be) to cultivate as large an area as physically possible. 26 Women's testimony evinced their awareness of great pressure to maximize agricultural production, not only to secure household food supply but also to yield surpluses that might be exchanged to meet personal or family needs, used to reward a work party, or offered to friends or relatives seeking assistance in times of shortage. Moreover, the "strength" rural women manifested through arduous agricultural labor was a source of immense pride for them and a cornerstone of female agrarian identity. As I observed throughout Magude district, a woman's agricultural performance—the number of hours she spent on her fields each day, how energetically she wielded her hoe, the quality of her harvest—was closely watched by other women in the community and was as important a factor in her reputation as her sexual fidelity in marriage. The sanction for women who ignored this social obligation was one that most would not dare to treat lightly: If you were lazy and did not seize your hoe, women warned, you would have trouble finding and keeping a husband. 27

If, through their labors to transform misava into masimu, women established traditional tenure rights not explicitly recognized by patriliny, then likewise, through the everyday habits of farming, women learned, performed, and nurtured relationships that overlapped with, but ranged far beyond, blood- and marriage-based patrilineal kinship. As women told it, this process began in childhood when girls were taught the methods and principles of agriculture from their mothers, aunts, sisters, grandmothers—whoever was responsible for raising them—and began farming as a form of imitative play, with a xikon'wana (miniature hoe) and a tiny corner of their teacher's field to practice in. 28 In adulthood, women developed bonds of familiarity through the everyday routines of farm work: passing each other on the same paths as they walked to and from their fields, watching their own and each other's crops suffer the vagaries of the weather, measuring one another's harvests against what they hoped to reap themselves. As I observed, these bonds were strongly encouraged through an unspoken ethic of cooperative assistance, which nurtured in women an almost reflex willingness to "help each other" (kupfunana), especially with time-consuming jobs such as husking corn, shelling peanuts and beans, and sorting through greens for cooking.

Women's collective involvement with the land was reinforced—and enforced—through milawu ya ntumbuluko (traditional laws) regulating their farming activities. No one, for example, was supposed to work in their fields the day after a death in the chiefdom, when it hailed or thundered, or when the sky darkened but no precipitation fell; the land then was sulking, women told me, and field labor would anger the heavens and hold up the rain. Although in theory the chief was responsible for announcing when field work was prohibited, women knew the rules, and on such a day the reminder to stay home spread quickly without an official proclamation. Similarly, women felt it was enormously important that they all began sowing on the same day after the onset of the spring rains. To delay would not only mean that one's crops might not grow as well as other women's. It would also imply a social failing, a state of being out of step with other members of the farming community. Again, while the chief was supposed to initiate a new farming season, it was the women who regularly checked the soil to determine when its ndzhongo (humidity) was adequate for planting, and their constant conversations on the subject produced an informal, collective decision about when sowing should begin. Albertina Tiwana's explanation for the timing of this event is typical in the way it privileges women's will and action over the voice of chiefly (or other) authority:

They're leaving me behind, they're leaving me behind. My friends are leaving me behind! There are birds, birds fly together. They go brrrrrr-brrrrrr [she imitates a flock of birds in flight], all at one time. Eh-heh. And you long for that too. . . . You sure long for that! When one eats, your heart longs to eat too. 29

Perhaps the most telling evidence of the community that women achieved and enacted through farming lies in their spirited stories about the traditional role of masungukati (elderly women) in presiding over the health of the land. Postmenopausal, often widowed, masungukati were "the great ones" among women, because their age and experience conferred on them a capacity to think deeply and an unsurpassed understanding of the laws of long ago. Their most straightforward task related to farming was the adjudication of conflicts over boundaries between cultivated fields. Border disputes arose when one woman accused the woman farming next to her of "stealing" or "eating" her ndzelekana—for instance, by redrawing the line in the soil with her hoe, at her neighbor's expense; or by sowing in the middle of the path they had created to separate their fields. Mindzelekana theft was a serious issue, and a victim's first recourse was to discuss the matter with the offender, so that if possible the two women could resolve the problem themselves. If this effort failed, masungukati intervened to determine the proper historical location of the boundary, instructing the women (if necessary) to sow a line of sweet potatoes or castor oil bushes in its place to prevent future conflict. Within the customary system, interviewees explained, male authorities dealt with boundary disputes only if masungukati failed to settle them. Otherwise, men stayed away from what they considered a petty female concern not worthy of their attention. 30

 field boundaries  field boundaries field boundaries

Masungukati's more critical responsibilities involved the ritualized transition events of women's lives and ceremonies to protect the land from such threats as crop pests (bore-worms, locusts) and drought. Both spheres of activity posited a connection between female sexuality and the agricultural capacity of the chiefdom, suggesting a gendered construction of the tiko and of the forces that sustained or threatened it, in which women's community in farming was made most nearly explicit. When a girl began menstruating and then again when she was about to marry, one or two masungukati close to her family took her aside for secret instruction in the rules of hygiene and sexual behavior; if an unmarried girl became pregnant, it was the masungukati whom she should tell, so that they could inform her parents and seek punitive fines, negotiate a marriage proposal, or discreetly provide a medicine to induce abortion. Masungukati also served as midwives and ceremonially inducted women into widowhood; the latter was a particularly complex task, requiring secret meetings, purification rites, and the organization of ritual sexual intercourse for the widow to cleanse her and her household of ndzhaka (pollution from death). 31

However, the full extent of masungukati's power was unleashed only when a woman disregarded their authority—for example, if a widow entered a new relationship before undergoing the necessary rites. Such transgressions exposed the community's food supply to grave peril, for uncleansed ndzhaka would "close the sky" (kupfala tilo), "seize the rain" (kukhoma mpfula) and cause drought that would "kill the land" (kudlaya tiko). 32 The dramatic measures masungukati took in these circumstances centered on shaming ceremonies in which a woman who had behaved improperly was publicly cursed or "insulted" (kurhuketela) by being paraded through the community after having a murhi (medicine) made from a species of aloe plant (which caused terrible itching) poured over her near-naked body. masungukati ceremony The ceremony typically took place at dawn and involved the masungukati (also in various degrees of undress) dancing along the main footpaths in the village, singing obscene songs, breaking speech taboos by shouting the words for male and female genitalia, and mockingly pantomiming sexual intercourse with one another. During this time men were supposed to remain indoors so as to avoid crossing the masungukati's path. Otherwise they risked having their pants forcibly removed and, if they could not escape, their penis "pulled" by the bolder members of this crew of unruly old women, suddenly transformed into a shrieking, insolent band of troublemakers who struck fear and revulsion in the heart of anyone who saw them. 33

masungukati ceremonymasungukati ceremonymasungukati ceremonys

masungukati ceremony masungukati ceremonymasungukati ceremony

masungukati ceremony masungukati ceremonymasungukati ceremonys

masungukati song transcription masungukati song transcriptionmasungukati song transcription

The sense of responsibility motivating masungukati to safeguard the fertility of the land is especially significant, as is their common knowledge of such ceremonies' procedures and songs, when we consider that women in the Magude area have tended to marry and spend their adult lives outside (and often far from) the community of their birth. As a result of patrilocal, clan-exogamous marriage, every community traditionally contained a mix of women from different places, who usually arrived at their vukatini knowing few people other than their husband. Yet regardless of their place of origin, the circumstances of their arrival, or their status in relation to local lineages, shared agrarian habits and physical proximity on the land meant that women were all subject to the moral laws and ritual authority of local masungukati, and that they would eventually take over the elderly women's duties when they reached old age themselves. Cultivating the soil together in turn encouraged—indeed, compelled—women to deepen and formalize their interconnectedness by cultivating vuxaka (kinship) not only within existing networks of patrilineal and affinal relatives but, perhaps more importantly, among non-related female neighbors and friends. Women referred to these relational ties as vuxaka bya matinyo (which I translate in chapter 2 as "laughing kinship"), but this term belies the serious material meanings of such constructed kin connections. The cultivating community that women created on the basis of their "landed" identity and collective purpose served as a crucial mechanism for incorporating female newcomers, controlling the terms of belonging to the tiko, and perpetuating women's body-grounded powers over the land.

Women's "cultivating community" had vital consequences in terms of their access to arable land. Formal grounds for belonging to the political community of the chiefdom—and thus rights to means of subsistence, as enjoyed by vinyi va tiko—were, according to custom, more numerous for men than for women. Officially, for a woman to enjoy the status and land rights of a n'winyi wa tiko she had to have been born in or married to a member of the chiefdom. Men, on the other hand, could move fairly readily from one chiefdom to another, becoming an owner of the land simply by pledging allegiance, through the procedure of kukondza, to authorities where they decided to settle. Nineteenth-century travel accounts reveal that itinerant women were not unusual in the Magude area even before migrant labor and Portuguese colonialism generated ever growing numbers of "women without men." 34 Yet an unattached woman who suddenly appeared in a rural community was more likely to be met with suspicion by customary authorities than if she arrived in the company of a man. 35 According to women's version of tradition, though, an unattached woman seeking to settle in a new location had a good chance of gaining acceptance if she could claim kinship of some kind with a local individual or family. Informal networks of land-based kinship and community thus made the boundaries of the tiko permeable to women in a way patriliny did not, because a woman who could establish a foothold on the land—by obtaining a field from a woman with whom she shared vuxaka, even just vuxaka bya matinyo—could, through her habitual interaction with members of the cultivating community, solidify her claim to belonging to that community. 36

This gendered elasticity in the boundaries of land-owning groups had helped virtually every woman I interviewed to survive social marginalization or forced dislocation at some point in her life, whether the source of the crisis was famine, war, witchcraft, or marital abuse. Women's inclusive traditions of land management ensured that even the most disadvantaged among them—those with no formal rights under patrilineal rules—did not go hungry for want of land. And contrary to what some researchers have assumed, the fields women acquired through informal arrangements were not necessarily less secure than fields transferred through lovolo marriage or inheritance. Traditional tenure security for women depended ultimately on the quality of their relationship to other members of the "cultivating community"—on rights earned through shared experiences and struggles on the land, not ascribed by normative principles or structural position in a lineage society. It was precisely this aspect of the indigenous land system that, as a result of the cumulative impact of changes during the colonial and postcolonial periods, seemed endangered in Facazisse in 1995-96.

Changes in the Land: Transformations in Land Management in Facazisse, circa 1900-1992


Research on women and land in Africa has focused particularly on the impact of colonial and postcolonial government policies on women's land access, economic status, and agricultural autonomy. 37 DINAGECA map Scholarship on changing relationships between land and people in Africa has highlighted the multidimensional and multidirectional character of this process and the inseparability of land-tenure systems from social relations, culture, and politics. 38 Yet when the spotlight is on women, analysis tends generally to boil down to economics: Do Africa's primary food producers have as much arable land as they need? If not, what are the structural conditions militating against them? Clear patterns emerge from this literature, mainly involving the negative consequences that African women have experienced as a result of privatization, individualization of land tenure, land concentration, and postcolonial land-law reforms whether implemented by market-oriented or socialist states.

This gendered tale of agrarian dispossession reflects perhaps one of the most disturbing trends in twentieth-century Africa, yet the case of Facazisse suggests that it may have another, even more discouraging aspect. It would be difficult to argue that systematic colonial or postcolonial policies were principally responsible for worsening women's relation to land in this tiny corner of Magude district. Although land was not distributed equally in postwar Facazisse, in 1995-96 most women in this locality had enough land to sustain the minimal food needs of their household. Also, changes in land administration in Facazisse have more often seemed to be the result of haphazard state responses to events in motion on the ground—efforts to assert control over innumerable, microscopic land contests among a diverse set of farmers, missionaries and settlers, or ad hoc measures hastily devised to cope with the exigencies of war. Yet during the period of my research women in Facazisse were indeed suffering from a kind of dispossession that can be explained in the context of global forces of capitalism impinging on a traditional land-based social system. Even those women who had enough land to survive as farmers were being dispossessed of the powers they had historically exercised over it, and this dispossession threatened to be as devastating as losing the land itself.

map of Magude reguladosPresent-day Facazisse sits near the center of the powerful precolonial chiefdom of Magudzu Khosa, for whom the district was named. A colonial regulado, Facazisse was created in 1900 when the Portuguese carved up the politically troublesome chiefdom (which they knew as Cossine) into nineteen small chieftaincies, each to be governed by one of Magudzu's descendants. 39 Documentary evidence suggests that Facazisse was a model regulado—prosperous, peaceful, and, during the long reign of the last officially recognized chief (Virginia "N'waMukomati" Khosa, 1942-71), governed by one of the most respected traditional authorities in Magude circumscription. 40

In this regard, Portuguese colonizers inadvertently benefited from the presence of the Antioka station of the Swiss Mission, established there in the 1880s. 41 At first, the Swiss had found the "MaKhossa" a "fortress difficult to take," 42 and two decades of frustrated efforts focusing on spiritual conversion and the elimination of "immoral" customs succeeded only in instilling the impression that "the missionary is an agent of the police." 43 Concluding that Khoseni's problem was the outflow of male migrant workers to South Africa, missionary Frank Paillard decided that "small industries" were needed to keep men at home. He identified the prime farmland around the station—in particular, the fertile nyaka soils along the Nkomati's banks—as the key to making the men of Khoseni "useful to their country." 44 Thus in 1911-12, the mission requested and obtained from the colonial government a lease-title to two land concessions, one in Facazisse and the other directly across the river in what later became the regulado of Makuvulane. 45 Facazisse land concessions Straightaway, a jubilant Paillard wrote to his superiors about "a great step forward" in his new "social work" agenda: the establishment of fifteen families on the Makuvulane land, where men would become proprietors of fields and, with the aid of irrigation and mechanized equipment, cultivate food crops for consumption and sale. 46 The response from local men pleased Portuguese officials as well 47 and more than satisfied Paillard's ulterior objective. The missionary boasted of an immediate swelling of worship services, with weekly audiences of 200 to 250 people, including large numbers of men "of which about 50 are pagans well disposed to settle" on the church land. 48

Although Paillard's writings do not reveal whether he was aware of growing commercial interest in Magude's riverine soils at the time the mission acquired the two concessions, he anticipated a land rush that gathered pace in the circumscription from the 1920s onward. By the 1940s, this trend resulted in the alienation—to European settlers and the colonial state—of a continuous swath of land along both banks of the Nkomati River. 49 Only the combined forces of a strong-willed chief, the missionaries, and a sympathetic colonial administrator prevented a handful of Portuguese commercial farmers from stripping Facazisse of all of its best nyaka land. In the 1930s, when a settler named Jacinto Borges Escudeiro tried to expropriate the remaining nyaka on the left bank of the Nkomati between the Antioka mission property and Magude town, the Swiss supported Chief Facazisse in his struggle to retain a portion of this land for his people, and the Magude administrator arranged for the creation of a native reserve in Facazisse, protecting roughly 400 hectares of nyaka, ntlhava, and mananga from future appropriation. Facazisse land concessions In 1945, Escudeiro obtained title to a concession west of this reserve, part of which had belonged to Facazisse. To the east of the Antioka property, two additional concessions were alienated from Facazisse to European settlers interested in commercial farming and cattle-ranching, leaving the chiefdom with little more than the land within the reserve. (It is difficult to determine the original title-holders of these concessions from DINAGECA registers. In 1995-96, the two properties were known locally as ka Xikosi and ka Ramalho). 50 Finally, in the 1940s, after the colonial state fenced off more than 700 hectares for the Chobela Veterinary Research Station, Chief N'waMukomati was obliged to allocate a portion of the reserve to displaced families from a neighboring regulado. 51

Significantly, as part of their effort to secure church members' future access to nyaka land, the Swiss introduced a new method of land allocation in Facazisse. When Escudeiro began evicting farmers from his concession in the mid-1930s, the missionaries subdivided their two properties and distributed nyaka and ntlhava plots to church families, who were to hold them in perpetuity. Using tape measure and string and pounding small stumps (swikhunkwana) into the ground to serve as boundary marks, the Swiss measured out neatly square or rectangular fields and assigned them to Antioka Christians: one hectare to the household of each elder, one-half hectare to the remaining households. When all of the Facazisse plots had been given out, remaining Antioka church members were granted fields in Makuvulane. Impressed by the missionaries' system, the regulado's traditional authorities adopted a similar method for parcelling out fields on the reserve (known as ka mukulu, "the chief's place") in order to compensate non-Christians who had lost land to Escudeiro and to provide fields for later newcomers to Facazisse. 52 land concessions along the Nkomati River Chief N'waMukomati appears to have seen the new system as necessary protection against settler ambitions, as in the 1950s she joined other régulos in Magude district in calling for the creation of additional African reserves and for the definitive demarcation of riverine concessions, so that her people would have guaranteed possession of the remaining land. 53

What Facazisse farmers themselves initially thought of the new land system is difficult to ascertain so many decades after its creation. If historical memory is not "the 'real' past, [but] the true past required by a particular present," 54 then the community's gratitude that they retained any nyaka fields at all might predispose them to remember the Swiss innovation in uniformly favorable terms. On the other hand, since land-related tensions in Facazisse in 1995-96 were concentrated on fields defined by the Swiss system, popular memory of this event might reflect divisions in the community between Antioka Christians who received church-allocated fields and non-Christian residents who did not. 55 In fact, oral accounts from Facazisse interviewees—both those who were present as children in the 1930s-1940s and those born or married into Facazisse at a later date—showed a remarkable degree of conformity. In the collective memory of the community, expressed in the patterned vocabulary and grammar of their narratives, the story of the Swiss land reform hinges on a series of verbs, all describing the missionaries' actions in the carving of individual fields (masimu) out of church lands. These verbs are all conjugated either in the passive voice (-iwa) or in a verb form (-ela or -ile) implying that an action is applied to someone or something: vahipimela (they measure for us), vahipandzela (they divide for us), hipandziwile (we were divided [for] by [them]), vahitsemelela (they cut into small pieces for us), hitsemeleliwile (we were cut into small pieces [for] by [them]). Interviewees recalled the chief's parcelling out of ka mukulu fields in much the same terms. However, people emphasized that while church fields were "only for Christians," fields at the chief's place were ya ntumbuluko (traditional), ya vuxaka (of kinship), and "for everyone, whether you were Christian or not." 56

These recurring verbs suggest that three elements of the new land-management system were so novel and so meaningful that the community structured its memory around them. First, passive verb forms record that the men and women of Facazisse did not participate in this land division: It was done to and for them rather than by them. Second, when applied to land, the verbs kupima, kupandza, and kutsema are abstract, implying objective and arbitrary actions disconnected both from the physical presence of the land itself and from farmers' knowledge and feelings about the land. Finally, the latter two verbs in Shangaan are harsh, almost violent, and it is significant that people have chosen to use them rather than kupambulela or some other gentler verb meaning to divide or share among many people. Kupandza can also mean to "split, cleave, cut, or sever"; kutsema means to "chop," even to "chop with an axe." 57 While we cannot know at what point in time popular memory coalesced into this linguistic pattern, one thing seems clear: The most memorable aspect of the missionaries' land scheme for local farmers is that it departed dramatically from indigenous land-allocation practices and, above all, from female traditions in which women's strength, kin, and ritual control governed land management.

By the late colonial period, Facazisse was one of the most prosperous regulados in Magude circumscription, boasting several small cantinas (shops, bars), its own bakery, and the first African in Magude to own his own car. 58 If farmers' cattle herds were smaller in Facazisse than elsewhere in Magude, livestock was widely distributed and residents remember "even old women" having at least one cow. 59 As a significant proportion of men were engaged in migrant labor in South Africa or employed by the Incomati Estates sugar factory in nearby Xinavane, many families had sufficient cash earnings to build cement houses and accumulate "luxury" goods such as furniture and small appliances. Men who chose to work in Facazisse rather than outside the district were predominantly church members, whose successful careers as cash-crop farmers represented the fulfillment of Paillard's dream of saving endangered families by keeping men occupied on the land. By the early 1950s, the Swiss had turned their Makuvulane property into an agricultural training school where European agronomists taught church men to become modern farmers, knowledgeable about fertilizers, irrigation, monoculture, and imported food crops and strains of livestock. 60 Here, in 1960, the Portuguese Cotton Institute established the Makuvulane Agricultural Cooperative, redividing the church land among ninety-six Christian families from Facazisse and Makuvulane. Co-op members produced cotton, wheat, and ntswembana, a fibrous plant they sold to the colonial state at fixed prices. The corn, vegetables, and fruits co-op farmers grew on these fields were consumed by their families or sold in Magude town. 61

A series of events around the time of independence led to further changes in Facazisse's land situation. First, the three settler concessions on Facazisse land were abandoned or turned over to the state by the mid-1970s. Second, the new Frelimo government instructed that colonial agricultural cooperatives were to be transformed into collective farms, and the Makuvulane co-op accordingly expelled all of its Facazisse members, on the grounds that there was not enough land for everyone within the new scheme. 62 Third, Facazisse church elders, eyeing Escudeiro's now empty fields, paid a visit to the new Frelimo district administrator to request that the land be returned to the community. After telling them that Escudeiro's property was to be included in one of Magude's state farms, the DA offered the Xikosi and Ramalho concessions instead. 63 Finally, district officials created a Land Commission (LC) in Facazisse, to take charge of the redistribution of these two properties. Composed of prominent local men with Frelimo and church connections, the LC set immediately to work carving up the former concessions, using tape measure, string, and swikhunkwana to divide the land into neat half- and one-hectare plots, just as the Swiss had done decades earlier. 64

Once again, popular memory reveals the complex significance of this event. Although the farmers I interviewed expressed gratitude to Frelimo for relieving what by the early 1970s had become a severe land-congestion problem, they also narrated the reallocation of settler land in terms reminiscent of their stories of the missionary scheme—perhaps in part because this redistribution also favored Antioka Christians, especially those who had recently lost fields in Makuvulane. According to local accounts, the LC secretary announced one Sunday after the worship service that anyone who wished to receive a plot should write his or her name on a list that would be passed through the congregation. As one woman recalled, "That day when we give them our names, they say, 'All of us, let's go,' so we go to that land and we sit there. Well, they call our names, you stand up, they say, 'Enter here, farm here.'" 65 On learning that the new chiefs were giving away land, those who were not church members submitted private requests to whichever LC member they knew best, until most of the land was distributed. Yet whatever the channel through which they obtained fields, recipients spoke in one voice when they remembered the process, using not only the same verbs they applied to the missionaries system but, far more frequently, the strong passive verb form (-iwa). They also used a new verb not present in any descriptions of the Swiss scheme—kuphaka, a Zulu word meaning to "serve (as food)." 66 This verb's other common usage in postwar Magude was in descriptions of food handouts during and after the Renamo war. The most common oral rendering of the government's land redistribution system combined the two changes: Hiphakiwile masimu hi hosi (We were served [or given fields] by the chief).

One way to explain differences in farmers' interpretations of the two land divisions would be to focus on the increasing passivity in oral accounts. However welcome the restitution of community land, the LC's methods left farmers feeling more disempowered than ever. But the postindependence return of settler land differed from the missionary scheme in another way. While the LC's initial plan was that each family—i.e., each munumzane—would receive one half-hectare nyaka plot and one hectare of mananga, the Facazisse population in the mid-1970s could not be neatly separated into the units the Swiss had used in the 1930s. In particular, the community now contained a larger percentage of unmarried women and female-headed households. This phenomenon was due in part to the impact of the Swiss mission, whose amenities and welcoming attitude toward itinerant women helped to alter the gendered terms on which the chiefdom was accessible to outsiders. 67 However, this shift in the demographic profile of Facazisse was also the result of social changes related to migrant labor, colonial education, commodity capitalism, and urban influences emanating from nearby Magude town. Schooled by mission teachers (and later by Frelimo) to believe that women had value, convinced by the experiences of mothers and grandmothers that lovolo ties were onerous when husbands spent all their time in South Africa, and trained from childhood that women should be literate, acquire modern skills, and seek wage employment in order to outfit themselves like Christian ladies, increasing numbers of Facazisse women were remaining unmarried, divorcing, rejecting the levirate, and raising children alone by the time of the second land division. Facazisse elders in 1995-96 sorrowfully associated these changes with women's "loss of respect." For members of the LC, new residential configurations meant that land allotments had to be decided on a case-by-case basis. 68 Yet with a much larger number of women being "given" land by the LC than had received it directly from the missionaries in the 1930s, the second distribution had a qualitatively different meaning. Rather than acquiring land on the basis of their traditional status as lineage affines, a significant proportion of Facazisse women now depended to some extent directly on the LC to "be fed."

It was the Renamo war, though, that most profoundly upset local land arrangements and sped the transformation in women's relation to land. Through the mid to late 1980s, Facazisse was a target of repeated Renamo assaults. Attempts by local officials and government soldiers to resettle families from outlying areas in an aldeia communal (communal village) in the church's backyard provided temporary protection. However, the perceived advantages of sheltering in the shadow of Antioka (now emptied of missionaries) were soon offset by other problems. Many people disliked the idea of aldeia living and chose to leave Facazisse, moving to Magude town, Maputo, or South Africa to wait out the war in greater safety. At the same time, deslocados from elsewhere in the district began to move into Facazisse with requests for land and a place in the aldeia. The LC took responsibility for dividing up Facazisse's abandoned fields, aiming above all to provide everyone with at least a small piece of nyaka. To allay the community's fears, the LC stressed that deslocados were merely "borrowing" land for the duration of the war. 69

It proved impossible, however, to control wartime land distribution, especially when Renamo onslaughts worsened, as they did in the late 1980s, and remaining Facazisse residents fled to Magude town. Since many Facazisse fields were still within walking distance, people continued to cultivate as much of their land as was safely possible. Yet few households were able to work all of their land during this difficult time and, since deslocados flooding into town also needed to feed themselves, many Facazisse landholders made informal arrangements to lend out their unused fields, calculating that in this way their land would be kept clean and would not be appropriated by the LC. LC officials, meanwhile, subdivided available land in order to offer fields to anyone who needed them, and deslocados who were more desperate (or more intrepid) simply started cultivating in any empty place they could find. Complicating the situation further was Escudeiro's property, which after independence had been turned into Bloco 4 of the Empresa Agrícola de Magude (EAM). When in the early 1980s this state farm began to collapse, EAM management gave out plots of Bloco 4 land to employees. As deslocados filled Magude town, district officials opened up the rest of Bloco 4, offering them fields on the coveted concession—small plots to family farmers, much larger tracts to agricultores. 70 However, authorities could do only so much to regulate occupation of this land, for the constant population movement resulted in a high turnover rate on all land in the town's vicinity, as waves of displaced farmers exchanged fields among themselves rather than await the instructions of district officials.

This physical upheaval of families and communities had dramatic social effects as well. Literally every man and woman I spoke with in Facazisse, as elsewhere in Magude district, insisted that the single most damaging consequence of the war was women's and children's complete loss of respect for men and elders. Xichavo (respect) did not survive the calamitous disruption of the tiko and the kuhangalaka (scattering) of the agrarian population. Complaints about women focused on their laziness, their insolence with husbands and in-laws, and above all their refusal to fulfil lovolo obligations. Especially harsh were criticisms directed at younger women which targeted their casual attitude toward premarital pregnancy and their resistance to formal marriage. In Facazisse, these accusations were not new, and most elders believed that the war had only hastened a process that began in the late colonial period and was encouraged by Frelimo. But just as the war may have dealt xichavo a mortal blow by physically sundering the connection between rural communities and their land, so women's more determined repudiation of xichavo during the years of displacement compelled them to redefine their rights to land in ever more creative ways.

The women whose untraditional family arrangements had complicated the work of the LC in the 1970s were not solely dependent on the commission for access to land. Evoking the spirit of women's land traditions and the principle that everyone in the tiko should have as much land as she needed to "eat," these women begged, borrowed, and claimed fields in Facazisse from lineage relatives, neighbors, friends, co-workers, fellow Christians—anyone with surplus land whom they could claim as "kin" in some way—or they simply opened fields in unoccupied corners of ka mukulu. 71 On these traditional fields, farmers' relationship to land was still governed by the imperatives of cultivating kinship and the ways of long ago. On church fields, what interviewees referred to as vuxaka bya Xikwembu (kinship of God) served a similar purpose, representing an adaptation of older norms to a modified land situation. At this time, the LC seems to have exercised exclusive control only over fields carved from the former settler properties. Everywhere else, women continued to enjoy considerable authority and independence in managing their own land needs.

Then, during the war, the women of Facazisse joined the throngs of displaced women in Magude town, for whom the formal rules of patrilineal land allocation also did not apply. In the fearful turmoil that pervaded the town from the mid-1980s onward, as people poured in from the countryside and town families who could afford it packed their belongings to leave, narrow blood-, marriage-, and chiefdom-based notions of kinship and community became less important than the sense of emergency they shared as members of a larger tiko wracked by the horrors of war. Friendships forged during flight from Renamo attacks, in crowded deslocado settlements, in food distribution lines, and in daily treks for water and firewood provided "laughing kinship" among women from all corners of the district. In this context, many rural women found it expedient to identify themselves as belonging not to a particular chiefdom or locality but to the tiko of "Magude"—a redefinition of political community that enlarged the territorial boundaries of belonging and thus also the pool of "cultivating kin" through whom they might obtain land. Deslocadas turned to women they had never seen before and claimed them as maxaka (relatives) because "we both belong to Magude." 72 Once these relationships had been constructed in kinship terms, it became easier for displaced women to make persuasive claims to local land rights and harder for women with land near town to reject such requests for help. Indeed, female traditions of land management enabled many women to survive the harrowing years of displacement. Unfortunately, in war-time Facazisse it may have been the very adaptability of these traditions that led to the xifula witchcraft crisis after the war and that threatened to bring about the "cultivating community's" ultimate demise.

Reconstructing the Tiko: Women and Postwar Land Struggles in Facazisse


Land-title applications, Magude district, 1991-96 The first postwar returnees to Facazisse started trickling home from Magude town in 1993. Yet rural resettlement, in Facazisse as elsewhere in Magude district, was slow and tentative, with displaced families returning in stages or, for a variety of reasons, reluctant to go home at all. 73 As of late 1996, a substantial percentage of Facazisse's prewar population either had not yet returned or remained with one foot in Magude town, Maputo, or South Africa. Ironically, many of the deslocados who had acquired land in Facazisse during the war were opting either to hold onto it for a while longer or to settle permanently in the area. Returnees, moreover, were not always reoccupying the land they had left behind, often preferring to build new homes as close as possible to the river (the only water source) and staking claims to as many fields as they could in the hope that still displaced family members would eventually join them. In the meantime, local agricultores were beginning to replace lost equipment and cattle and to look hungrily for nyaka land, sharing the desire of small-scale farmers to return agricultural production to prewar levels.

In the immediate aftermath of the war, all of Facazisse's land fell under the authority of the LC, whose male, mission-educated members were applying a reified version of "custom" in their administration of church, settler, and reserve fields. Nyaka land was the object of more intense competition than ever, especially after the resumption of the rains in late 1995 provided some farmers with their first corn surpluses in nearly a decade. Yet as the case studies presented in this section demonstrate, Facazisse's postwar land troubles were not simply conflicts over rights to a scarce resource. Rather, patterns in postwar land disputes indicate that traditional land rights were themselves an object of fierce interpretive struggle, in which historical memory served the female farmers of Facazisse as both a central weapon and a mnemonic battleground. As women witnessed the disempowerment of the cultivating community at the hands of male authorities who spoke in the name of custom and the state, they began intensifying their calls for a return to the ways of long ago, berating daughters for their infatuation with things "white" and modern, and resorting to sometimes drastic methods to defend their power to decide who did and did not belong to the rights-holding unit of the tiko. The potentially devastating consequences of this battle were already evident in widespread fears of xifula witchcraft, which set in motion an insidious process of destroying from within rural women's most crucial form of historical remembering—and their most vital network of female support.

"Is there a land shortage? There is, and there isn't.": Aida


Aida and Talita in field Born in 1962 to one of Antioka's lay ministers, Aida grew up on the church grounds as a relatively privileged member of the Christian community. Her parents later moved to a site just beyond church property (on reserve land), which is where Aida, in 1995-96 a single mother of four and grandmother of one, was living with her recently widowed mother and two young sons.

Because Aida had never married, she farmed with her mother on the latter's land. They shared six plots but were cultivating only three: a small ntlhava field beside their home, a nyaka plot on Xikosi's old property, and a strip garden (for sweet potatoes) borrowed from a female friend. Their other three fields were on church land, registered in the name of Aida's late father: one ntlhava plot, which they had left fallow, and two nyaka plots they loaned out after his death in 1991, one to Aida's mother's sister (who lives in Makuvulane) and the other to the mother of Aida's brother's wife. Aida and her mother believed that lending land to relatives was the most secure way (besides cultivating) to retain control over it, even though technically they were supposed to turn over unused church fields to the LC. Aida was anxious not to lose any of their land, as she hoped that her brothers would one day send their wives home from South Africa to help her. Her two sons would need land for their future wives and children as well.

Aida had another large ntlhava field of her own, which she had borrowed in 1994 from the mother—a Facazisse native Aida calls "mother-in-law"—of the (married) man who was the father one of her children. Aida asked to borrow this field because it was far from the church, and the LC was unlikely to discover she was using it. She was already under pressure from the LC to give up the field on Xikosi's old land and to turn over one of the church plots to one of the female relatives of the LC secretary. She and her mother were besieged with requests to borrow the fallow ntlhava plot, but they were determined to keep it unoccupied as an incentive for Aida's brother to settle his new wife there.

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Like most women I interviewed, Aida looked backward and forward across generations to construct her land needs: Aida's father was one of Antioka's preeminent "modern" farmers, and she had sisters and potential daughters-in-law whom she wanted to join her in Facazisse. Many female returnees were in a similar position, resettled as fragments of prewar homesteads and responsible not only for recovering previous land but also for accumulating enough additional land to accommodate family growth during the war and in the future. This consciousness of their muti's potential for expansion (a potential on which their own survival would depend when they reached old age) prompted women to acquire land through any available channel, as in Aida's loose interpretation of n'wingi (mother-in-law) whereby she claimed land through the idiom of lovolo kinship even though she had never been formally married. Yet having lost her family's cattle to Renamo, and without access to cash to hire a tractor or plowing team, Aida, like many female heads of household in the area, was unable to cultivate all the land in her possession and risked losing some of it to the ever watchful LC.

Some women were more at risk in this regard than others, and the LC's definitions of land needs were just as subjective as women's own. Aida believed she was being targeted by the LC secretary because "we have no man in the house," and other women like her—older widows and divorcees especially—were also under pressure to relinquish church or ex-settler plots, in some cases even when they were actively cultivating them. Women's most common response to this pressure was to lend fields they were unable to farm themselves to female "relatives," often deslocadas still living in Magude town. However, given the mounting pressure that such borrowers were facing to give up Facazisse fields (see below), this strategy would not be tenable in the long run. In the meantime, many married church women with full granaries, often retaining (unchallenged) idle fields of their own, were grumbling that they did not have "enough" land for their family, and speculating about the devious measures neighbors were using to keep valuable nyaka from those who truly needed it.

Whatever their position on the land-shortage issue, most women believed that the LC typically allocated land on the basis of cronyism, nepotism, and even bribery. This perception was strengthened by the fact that, however meticulously the LC had measured fields, variations in terrain and soil quality meant that plots of equal area were not necessarily equal in value at harvest time. Yet what troubled women even more was commission authorities' inflexible and peremptory behavior in land-assignment decisions. Whereas according to the old ways male authorities would not reallocate an unused field without consulting its most recent occupant, the LC could and did simply take land and reassign it. As a result, farmers considered land tenure to be much less secure on LC-given fields than on fields obtained through customary channels. Four of the fifteen women whose land situations I examined in detail had recently lost a field assigned to them by the LC, either because it had been summarily transferred to someone else or because a previous owner had returned to Facazisse and claimed it back. All four of these women were widows; one was born in Facazisse, two had married into Facazisse, and the fourth had immigrated as a deslocada. Two of them responded to the loss of their plot not by petitioning the LC but by approaching female kin for replacement fields. One married-in widow obtained a field from a Facazisse-born in-law, and the deslocada borrowed a field from a Facazisse-born friend she met during the war. Both women expressed a much greater sense of security with regard to this land compared to their LC-assigned plots.

Admittedly, LC officials were struggling to balance a wide array of often conflicting demands. In addition to their original task of redistributing concessions, after the war they assumed responsibility for settling returnees, distributing food aid, and administering all of Facazisse's land. 74 Moreover, members of the LC were not oblivious to popular dissatisfaction with their performance. When rumors of worsening land tensions reached the ears of LC officials, they organized two community meetings in October and November 1996. But rather than using the meetings as a forum for Facazisse residents to diagnose and discuss land problems themselves, the LC took the opportunity of the meetings to deflect attention from its own activities and to scapegoat those individuals occupying Facazisse fields who did not belong to the community of rights-holding "owners of the land."

"Outsiders" versus "Owners of the Land": N'waMangaviyane


Albertina Ubisse When I met her in 1995, N'waMangaviyane was a spirit medium in her sixties. She had been born to a local church family and had married a Facazisse man. When she was diagnosed with spirit possession, however, she was banished from the church and her marriage fell apart. She subsequently established a successful career as a medium and healer and used her earnings to build a home, buy cattle, and give lovolo for a "wife" to help her with her work and bear children for her lineage.

N'waMangaviyane told me that she owned six fields, three of which had caused problems for her since her return to Facazisse from Maputo in 1994. Two of these fields were on reserve land, passed down to her from her mother. Before she left Facazisse, N'waMangaviyane put these fields (one nyaka, one ntlhava) into the hands of her late brother's wife, who was living in Magude town. During the war, this woman cultivated the nyaka field herself and loaned a portion of the ntlhava field to Paulina, a young deslocada romantically involved with N'waMangaviyane's sister-in-law's brother. Because she too was a spirit medium, Paulina was linked to N'waMangaviyane through vuxaka bya swikwembu (kinship of the spirits).

Despite repeated requests that they leave her fields, Paulina and the sister-in-law were still cultivating N'waMangaviyane's land in late 1996. N'waMangaviyane did not want to quarrel with her sister-in-law, so after the second Facazisse LC meeting she simply told her that it was henceforth prohibited for nonresidents to cultivate Facazisse land. N'waMangaviyane's position regarding Paulina was more complicated. When advised of the LC's ruling, Paulina asked to continue cultivating manioc in one corner of the field; her brothers were still in South Africa, she said, and she could not return home alone. Before N'waMangaviyane could respond, Paulina sowed manioc in the middle of the field. When N'waMangaviyane confronted her, Paulina explained that, because "everyone else from Magude was sowing in Facazisse," she felt she should too. Calling her "daughter," N'waMangaviyane reportedly told Paulina she could keep the piece of ground she had sown until she harvested the manioc the following year. The rest of the field, though, N'waMangaviyane wanted back immediately. Certain of LC support for her decision to expel Paulina, N'waMangaviyane dismissed rumors that Paulina's family had "killed people with xifula." "I'm not afraid of anything," she snorted, "and I already told her brother, 'You can give me xifula, but get out—this field is mine.'"

N'waMangaviyane's third problem involved a church nyaka plot. Originally belonging to her mother, this field had been cultivated last by N'waMangaviyane's "wife." While N'waMangaviyane was in Maputo, this woman died, and the LC gave the field to Celina, the wife of a Facazisse man who was then living in Magude town. When N'waMangaviyane asked for the field back, Celina allegedly retorted, "You don't pray, you can't farm here." Still sensitive about her expulsion from the church, N'waMangaviyane passionately defended her right to this land: "My children all study, 75 . . . and me, I'm ill because of my spirits [i.e., she did not leave the church voluntarily]. How can Celina say, 'You don't pray'?" Yet N'waMangaviyane refused to quarrel openly with her relative—Celina's husband's grandfather and N'waMangaviyane's grandmother had been siblings.

Although N'waMangaviyane's cattle and income were greatly reduced because of the war, and she was not, at the time I knew her, able to cultivate all of her land, she was determined to recover every inch of it. "They'll give it back to me," she promised, "and my children and grandchildren will farm there." She counted sixteen male descendants for whose land needs she was responsible.

Interview notes, Albertina Ubisse Interview notes, Albertina Ubisse Interview notes, Albertina UbisseInterview notes, Albertina Ubisse

Like many other land-abundant farmers who left Facazisse during the war, N'waMangaviyane found someone to look after her fields in her absence. Not everyone entrusted their land to a relative. Some entered similar arrangements with deslocados, often people they had never laid eyes on before. The war's dispossessed were aided (and, in a sense, taken advantage of) by those who, having land near Magude town and being able to spare some of it temporarily, offered to lend fields in order to safeguard possession of them until after the war. In these circumstances, creative forms of fictive kinship became the basis of assistance arrangements without which many displaced women might not have survived. Not surprisingly, living conditions in town also fostered wartime romances between men and women of all ages, whose relatives thereby gained a new line of fictive in-laws—connections that often outlasted the union from which they had sprung. Other kinds of kinship emerged out of economic exchanges or assistance offered out of compassion: vuxaka bya tihomu (kinship of the cattle), when a person with oxen plowed for someone who had none; 76 vuxaka bya timbita (kinship of the pots), when a woman cooked for and/or fed someone who was unable to provide for herself. 77 It was a bond of this kind that had sanctioned the sister-in-law's land loan to Paulina. As N'waMangaviyane explained, the sister-in-law agreed to the loan because Paulina had accepted the woman's brother as her lover.

N'waMangaviyane's efforts to recover her land, and borrowers' efforts to resist or postpone expulsion, also reflect a common postwar pattern. Initially unwilling to quarrel with maxaka, force them to abandon crops in the ground, or otherwise court conflict among them, N'waMangaviyane was sympathetic to Paulina's plight and bided her time, hoping the women would leave the fields of their own accord. But like many wartime land arrangements, this one turned sour when the lender found that borrowers' schedules for resettlement did not coincide with her own. Lenders' mounting frustration, exacerbated by the shortage of other land for them to farm, dovetailed with more widespread concern over the scarcity of nyaka plots, the multiplication of mindzelekana disputes (see below), and the rising incidence of crop and livestock theft in the area. Facazisse's first good postwar harvest, in mid-1996, only worsened the situation, because its benefits were spread so unevenly: Farmers with nyaka plots too close to the Nkomati lost their crops to flooding, while those on nyaka fields farther from the river reaped excellent harvests. By this point, Facazisse returnees were already beginning to mutter openly about people from handle (outside) "eating from our fields," especially deslocados in town who, they said, had grown lazy with urban life and planned to hold onto Facazisse fields forever.

These tensions flared in early October 1996, when the mother of a local woman—the wife of a man in the ruling Khosa family—died suddenly in a neighboring community. The symptoms preceding her death convinced everyone that the cause was xifula, the dreaded form of witchcraft that had already been blamed for killing or crippling dozens of people in the area. Called paralisia (paralysis or thrombosis) in Portuguese, xifula caused a rapid withering and stiffening in the limbs and face of its victims. It was also associated with chest pains, fatigue, weight loss, and deteriorating muscle control. Hospital staff in Magude had no treatment for this usually fatal condition, preferring to send sufferers to traditional healers whose expensive remedies rarely did more than ease symptoms for a short time. While local people distinguished xifula from older forms of witchcraft because it was produced by a medicine rather than through ghostly nocturnal agency, it shared similar motivations: hatred and jealousy, usually regarding material success. For this reason, its victims tended to be men, either returned migrant workers or men fortunate enough to have found cash-paying labor in Magude town. Xifula was believed to be a "new" kind of witchcraft and to have come with the war, through either deslocados from other areas or Magude refugees returning from the Transvaal.

However, what began in Magude as a largely urban, male phenomenon started to penetrate rural areas near town in early 1996, afflicting farmers who had good harvests and, in a disturbing new pattern, people involved in land disputes. The death of a woman that Facazisse's chiefly family considered a maseve was the first xifula case to touch the community. That she died the day after a loud argument with a deslocada who had borrowed one of her fields made it easy to assign blame: Reminded that her departure was long overdue, the deslocada (according to popular accounts) accused the field's owner of using her to do the heavy clearing work so that she (the owner) could cultivate the land herself—a charge leveled by many borrowers forced to give up fields. Her alleged parting words to the field's owner were a phrase local residents knew as the standard xifula threat: "Nitakuvona! [I will see you!]." Then, people believe, the deslocada planted the medicine on the dead woman's hoe, where it infected her the next morning. She died, in great pain, that same afternoon.

Occurring in the midst of so many other land problems, this event prompted authorities to act before xifula could strike again. Facazisse Khosa and the LC called the first public meeting, where it was agreed that the source of their troubles was the presence of "outsiders" who were cultivating Facazisse land. The only solution, they decided, was to prohibit everyone but the "owners of the land" from farming in Facazisse. At the November meeting, the LC issued its instructions: no more lending land to non-residents, all existing non-resident borrowers had to give up Facazisse land after harvesting crops already in the ground, and any deslocados or town-dwellers who wished to continue farming there would have to build a home and live in Facazisse. This last provision is significant, because it also applied to Facazisse natives who had moved to Magude town during the war, and it revealed that authorities did not diagnose the problem as one of land scarcity. Justifying their ruling in terms of tradition, chief Facazisse clarified the official definition of vinyi va tiko: "Owners of the land, that's us, everyone who lives here. . . . Those people who say, 'But we too are . . . natives of Magude,' well, being a native of Magude doesn't make you a native of Facazisse. They are natives of Magude, but they have their own ndhawu [locality]." 78

In an interview before the second meeting, Facazisse Khosa elaborated on the authorities' position. According to custom, he said, all a person had to do to earn the status of n'winyi wa tiko was to build a home and settle in the chiefdom. Using arguments that plainly drew on the notion of the cultivating community, he explained that nonresident farmers endangered the land because they might not respect such local traditions as kurhuketela ceremonies and the prohibition against field work the day after a death. New settlers, he insisted, were welcome, citing as examples several elderly women who had arrived in Facazisse during the war and subsequently decided to become permanent residents—and who had established themselves on the land, in every case, with the help of women they called kin because of ties based on blood, marriage or friendship. Each of these women, he said approvingly, is "already just like a person of Facazisse" and has secure rights to the fields she is now farming. 79

Authorities' portrayal of land tensions in terms of a dichotomy between outsiders and owners of the land galvanized a shift in popular attitudes, especially among women, regarding future delimitations of the tiko. Land lenders such as N'waMangaviyane decided to shrug off the restraints of custom and to inform borrowers that Facazisse's chiefs had ordered them to leave. Women with surplus land, suddenly frightened by the xifula threat and the LC's severity, assured one another that they would never again lend land to someone from outside. One woman's response was particularly revealing:

I will not lend [land] to them, because when you lend to those people . . . when you want your field . . . they kill you with xifula. But when it's . . . someone from Facazisse who wants to borrow a field, you can lend it to her. It's like this daughter [points to Ruti, who is her husband's sister's daughter], because she's my daughter. When she wants a field, she says, "Grandmother, I want a field." I have to give it to her . . . because at another time, when I say, "Eeh, daughter, I'd like that field," she won't be troublesome. She'll say, "Ah, grandmother, take that field, you farm there," . . . because she's my daughter. But wa matiko ya kute hi handle [a person from lands outside]—you will lend her a field and the day you want it she'll go looking for xifula, sure. 80

The new boundaries this woman evokes, based on strict notions of blood and lovolo kinship, were also evident in N'waMangaviyane's later approach to her field borrowers. Although Paulina was cultivating the least valuable of her loaned fields, N'waMangaviyane focused on removing Paulina and continued to avoid open conflict with women linked to her through the marriages of blood kin. The authorities had said nothing about discriminating on the basis of kinship, but it was clear within days of the first meeting that women were erecting their own, tighter fence around the cultivating community. One reason for the speed of their reaction may have been that a battle over land rights—and boundaries—of a different kind was already well underway in Facazisse.

"I'll Bury You in the Border!": Albertina


Fence post A childless widow living alone, Albertina was born circa 1915 in nearby Machambuyane. Albertina left her late husband shortly after she became his second wife and spent many years wandering throughout Magude and Moamba districts. In the 1950s, while living with her sister in Chobela, Albertina opened a nyaka plot in an unused corner of Xikosi's property. When she was evicted from this field by another Portuguese settler in the 1960s, Albertina requested land in Facazisse from chief N'waMukomati, who gave her a large mananga field, which Albertina cleared. She farmed there for several years, still living in Chobela, and after independence received two other nyaka plots through the LC redistribution.

Early in the war, Albertina moved to her mananga field in order to be closer to a male cousin, as she had offered to look after his son. When the boy, Abílio, was preparing to go to South Africa, Albertina divided the mananga field in two and told him the northern half would be his when he got married. disputed field During the war, however, after Albertina had moved to the Facazisse aldeia, the LC distributed much of the land in this area to deslocados. At this time, a strip along the northern end of Albertina's field (part of what she had promised Abílio) was given to a man named Mário. The LC put up fencing in an east-west line to mark this division and subsequently loaned out the rest of Albertina's/Abílio's field.

When the war ended, Albertina resumed cultivating what was left of her mananga field. Abílio had returned home and married, so Albertina divided her southern half of the field again, to give half to Abílio's wife. The couple thus had the remainder of the northern half and the eastern side of the southern half of the postwar area of Albertina's field. However, because he was returning to South Africa, Abílio loaned the entire eastern part of his land to a man named Manthosi, leaving his wife to farm the western part. The problem with this arrangement was that Abílio and his wife did not finish clearing the northeast corner of the field before he left, and for a while no one was cultivating there. It was during this time that the land bordering the entire length of Albertina's original field on the east—separated from it by a nkova (gully)—was settled by a displaced family. disputed boundary area Seeing the uncleared area, this couple (the woman's name was Rosa) believed it was included in the land the LC had allotted them. Manthosi and his wife, however, came and cleared the northeast corner and sowed it with corn and peanuts. Angry that they were farming her land, Rosa picked Manthosi's crops before they were ready to harvest and then plowed the corner under and planted it herself. At the same time, according to Albertina, Rosa began cultivating up onto Albertina's/Abílio's side of the gully, "stealing mindzelekana" to create a "little garden" for herself inside Abílio's half of Albertina's land.

Since Rosa's arrival in 1994, she and Albertina had fought bitterly over the proper location of both the eastern nkova boundary and the line dividing Albertina's/Abílio's from Mário's land. While Rosa insisted that the fence marked the original northern limit of Albertina's land, and that because the northeast corner was "bush" when they arrived it belonged to them, Albertina countered that she had cleared the entire area of the field when she originally received it and thus had a prior claim. The fence, Albertina insisted, demarcated the part of her land that was given to Mario during the war; since he had subsequently moved his southern boundary up to the path, the northeast corner should revert to Albertina/Abílio. When I knew them, Albertina and Rosa were devoting much of their field time to hurling accusations and threats at one another: "I cleared here first!" "You killed my mindzelekana!" "Go ahead, bewitch me the same way you did that other old woman!" Although each believed that the other was about to kill her with xifula, neither doubted the necessity of making pongo (noise) to defend her right to the tiny piece of land.

Interview notes, Albertina Tiwana Interview notes, Albertina Tiwana Interview notes, Albertina Tiwana

Interview notes, Albertina Tiwana Interview notes, Albertina Tiwana Interview notes, Albertina Tiwana

Field-boundary conflicts were the dominant form of land tension among women in Facazisse after the end of the Renamo war. Among the fifteen women whose land situations I examined closely, a total of twelve boundaries were in dispute in late 1996. Yet the reasons for this phenomenon were not immediately apparent. All nine of the troubled fields were on church, LC-administered, or former Bloco 4 land. They were not all on coveted nyaka soil, however, and not all fields on these "measured" properties had contentious boundaries. Moreover, mindzelekana tensions fell into no obvious pattern according to a woman's birthplace, marital status, or the circumstances that had brought her to Facazisse. They involved women born inside and outside of the community, women still married as well as widows and divorcees, longtime residents and recently arrived deslocadas. Without question, though, they were a feminine matter: Despite the relatively large number of male farmers in Facazisse, such conflicts seemed rarely to be occurring among men. "Ah, truly," one man assured me, "we men, it's just once in a while. It's women, especially. Eeh!! Maybe she works until her strength is gone, she can still . . . finish that place near hers. . . . She looks it over, what that [other] person hasn't yet done, she says, 'Ah, a little bit more, for me!' Eeh, it's women, for sure." 81

Albertina's case illustrates the combination of factors, besides gender, that were contributing to Facazisse's mindzelekana war. Albertina and Rosa were strangers to one another until the LC assigned them to neighboring plots, and they shared no blood or affinal kinship. Four of the other women with boundary grievances were similarly farming next to women they neither knew well nor called "kin" and with whom they shared mindzelekana solely because of LC-orchestrated field shuffles during the war. Yet it was not kinship alone that prevented border tensions, for two other women in the group admitted to having problems with "true relatives." What these two women had in common with the others was that their disputed mindzelekana were on fields where they had played no role in deciding either the placement of the borders or with whom those borders would be shared. Deprived of their ability to control where and near whom they farmed, and having lost their traditional freedom to determine the area and limits of their fields, these women seemed to be fighting to resist their sudden loss of agricultural authority—by challenging men's divisions of the cultivated landscape, testing their devalued "strength" in the only way they still could.

The circumstances in which mindzelekana problems did not arise support this interpretation. On fields women had demarcated themselves, and on "measured" fields women had obtained through self-negotiated arrangements or as members of a muti who had received fields together, boundary disputes were extremely rare. In these cases, women had been able to exercise some degree of agency in determining where and/or next to whom they established field borders, with the result that they were farming among birth, affinal or fictive kin and construed their right to this land in collective rather than individual terms. Angelina Mundlovu, for instance, who was born and married in Facazisse, had two ka mukulu fields from her mother-in-law and one field on Ramalho's property, about which she said "we were given it by the government"—"we" in this case referring to her n'wingi and the wives of her husband's brothers. Angelina insisted there was no mindzelekana "noise" on her fields, because all of the women farming near her were maxaka of some kind:

When they spoil [the borders], me, I make them right. So when she comes, . . . she sees that, here, she spoiled my border. She leaves it alone, and me, I make it right. We go, we farm together. And she, she won't ask me, and me, I don't ask her. . . . I haven't yet quarreled with anyone over mindzelekana. 82

Angelina's confidence may have been rooted in the fact that her situation corresponded quite closely to official constructions of patrilineal tradition, and therefore her land rights were fairly secure. She had married in the tiko of her birth; there were few women in Facazisse with whom she could not claim kinship; and she was farming land she had obtained either from her husband's relatives or from the LC as an affinal owner of the land. Yet Albertina Tiwana, who raged so unforgivingly at Rosa, and who as a xikoxana (old woman) belonged to perhaps the most vulnerable social category of all, was just as sanguine as Angelina when speaking of the two plots she had received from the LC—each in a string of contiguous fields where she was surrounded by other residents of her sister's homestead, women she embraced as kin and about whom she refused even to entertain the idea of being in conflict.

As Angelina admitted, mindzelekana trespasses occurred even where women were cultivating land they had acquired through traditional channels. However, Angelina's response when this happened points to another dimension of the changing politics of gender and land in Facazisse. According to the old ways, women should at all costs avoid making noise over mindzelekana, and in the event of conflict they should trust masungukati's memories to judge the proper location of disputed field borders. As one man recalled his grandmothers cautioning him, "'That soil, it kills. You argue too much, it pulls you down, you will die, and that soil, that soil, it stays behind.'" 83 But on fields that had been demarcated by tape measures, stumps, and string, only the male authorities who "chopped up" the land in the first place knew the correct divisions of measured fields. In postwar Facazisse, masungukati had no officially recognized role in field boundary disputes, and the responsibilities and powers of the LC had been extended to all categories of fields and to all matters related to land allocation and use. Thus, on the one hand, mindzelekana tensions were more likely to spark open conflict among women whose access to a field depended exclusively on the LC. On the other hand, such conflict was more likely to be inflamed by women's sense that the xifula threat had become their only means for asserting their version of land rights according to the traditions and memories of the cultivating community. A woman's reputed access to xifula, or the warning "I will see you," might be all she needed to impose her version of the boundary. In more desperate cases, a woman could state the cost of boundary transgressions more explicitly: Nitakucelela hi mindzelekana!—"I will bury you in the border!"

Many women in Facazisse were conscious that the mindzelekana war was related to the weakening of the agrarian ethic that once placed great weight on cooperation among women farmers. As one woman explained, mindzelekana were "just like money, everyone wants it, because everyone wants to eat." 84 Women's loss of customary controls over land management, in other words, was associated with a corresponding decline in their power over the food economy and with women's decreasing ability (and, often, willingness) to help one another in the daily struggle to survive. Disputes over field boundaries thus became an effort by women to reassert their command over how well they and the people who depended on them were fed.

As the following excerpt from an interview with Sara Ndove suggests, worsening mindzelekana problems were also interpreted in the context of older women's loss of social and moral authority over younger generations of women and girls:
S: Ah, now, they are there, those who argue with each other over mindzelekana. And long ago, they were there, those who argue with each other over mindzelekana.
H: Is it the same today as in the past?
S: Well, there are differences, because the people of long ago and the people now, they are not the same.
H: How are they different?
S: It's the mahanyelo [way of life]. Today's and that of long ago, they are not the same. So, the qondo [common sense] of people, of today and of long ago, it's not the same.
H: Could you give me an example of what you mean?
S: Oh! Every time has its laws. . . . Long ago, there used to be respect. Now there is no respect at all. Mmm. . . .
H: Do you have an idea of what caused things to change?
S: [laughs] Oh, I don't know. Long ago, girls, they never used to stay together [i.e., have sex] with boys. Long ago, those things, they weren't possible. Mmm. 85



It is possible to look at Facazisse's postwar land struggles in the context of a broader trend in world history: the dispossession of peasants from their land at the hands of international capital and colonial, postcolonial, and industrializing states. hut and granary From this perspective, we might interpret mindzelekana battles as elements of a grassroots campaign to manifest peasant discontent or to reclaim land rights appropriated during the last century. Such an approach, while compelling, would overlook what Facazisse's principally female farmers identified as the reason for their land troubles in the wake of the Renamo war: the disappearance of their understanding of the ways of long ago and, with them, the forms of social and ritual power women derived from their role as traditional tenders of the land. Women's most common postwar lament—"the old ways, they are dead"—embraced everything from their loss of control over field definition to the waning authority of masungukati over the sexual behavior of young women. And to explain this dispossession, they cited internal rather than external sources of tension and change. Common sense, habits, laws—when women blamed present dilemmas on a shift in the ideological constructs governing social relations, they were protesting a shift in the locus of social authority as well. In this case, the shift had been a gendered one, with externally induced disruption of customary land-people relationships affecting women more immediately, profoundly, and negatively than men.

While it began as a gradual process, this shift was dramatically accelerated by the war and by the circumstances of postwar resettlement in Facazisse. Its consequences became more serious as the agrarian economy strained under the weight of protracted drought, then devastating floods and an unevenly distributed harvest, combined with the effects of structural adjustment: inflation, joblessness, rising property crime, and widening class divisions. In this context, women's narrowing definition of the tiko and contracting circles of kinship may also have been short-term survival strategies, for they reduced the number of maxaka for whose welfare women felt responsible. Yet the growing uneasiness about outsiders, and women's uncertainty about lending land to anyone but "true" kin, portended a future of spiraling economic vulnerability for their daughters and granddaughters. The weakening of "laughing kinship" and of the traditions of the cultivating community was as much cause as consequence of the erosion of a land-based society. In the absence of other sources of social value to compensate for their declining power in farming, rural women's prospects were dismal indeed. In what was perhaps the most striking irony of all, women's rallying to protect the tiko of Facazisse ignored the fact that this particular tiko came into existence because of colonialism. Significantly, most of Facazisse's oldest women, born before 1930, were not participating in the rhetoric of exclusion toward people from other lands, and one wonders whether this was because their mothers and grandmothers had told them of a time when the tiko—the cultivating community—was much wider in scope, both in geopolitical terms and in terms of women's willingness to "search for kinship" over greater physical and social distances.

When I left Facazisse in late 1996, the area was facing greater land-related dangers than mindzelekana disputes among small-scale female farmers. Not least among them were the certain alienation of Bloco 4 to large-scale commercial farmers and likely confrontations between local agricultores and small-scale farmers over nyaka land. 86 Yet dismissing women's field-boundary skirmishes means we fail to appreciate their most valuable lesson. Magude district officials lauded the Facazisse LC as a model of postwar local land administration because it enshrined customary norms and respected agrarian traditions. 87
archive IRIN": Land reform
Meanwhile, defenders of peasants' rights in Mozambique's land-law debate were recommending that statutory rights to bounded tracts of "ancestral" land be given to rural communities—whose boundaries and constitution peasant advocates rarely specified—and that local bodies much like the LC be vested with the authority to negotiate terms of land use by private interests and the state. 88 Yet in the opinion of Facazisse women in 1995-96, the LC Secretary was the greatest mindzelekana thief of all, and tales of his border infractions—true or not—grew taller by the day, kindled by women's conviction that he must have had access to xifula and that there was nothing anyone could do to curb his power.

On one level, women's postwar land struggles in Facazisse demonstrate that when legal reforms neglect the gendered culture, politics, and history of local land administration, they may actually hasten the demise of the cultivating community whose survival they are (supposedly) intended to secure. When formal systems of land management marginalize the women who have borne primary responsibility for negotiating land access and use in everyday life, they leave female farmers with no alternative but to fight among themselves over the scraps of land and power that remain. Given the relief with which the residents of Facazisse, like those of Magude district as a whole, were beginning to reoccupy their rural homes after the end of the war, such an outcome would be tragic. Yet Alfredo Sambo, a former LC member, was anxious that I not take the mindzelekana war too seriously. "Even white people have this problem," he assured me, telling the story of two Portuguese settlers who once threatened to shoot each other over a contested field border in Facazisse. "It's in all lands," he explained. "It's all because we want to eat. When you go home, and your people ask you if Mozambicans get along, I want you to know that we, this race, we love one another. . . . We're van'we [together], because all of us, we are all the children of one person." 89

* * * * *

As in the gap between formal patrilineal rules of land tenure and women's experience of land tenure on the ground, Alfredo Sambo's idealistic vision of all "Mozambicans" united in a web of landed kinship contradicts the stories, offered verbally and recorded in the soil, of women's shrinking ties of community in postwar Facazisse. Dispossessed of the old ways of land management that once bound and collectively empowered them, betrayed by the mutability of field boundaries as a form of historical memory, rural women in Facazisse and elsewhere in postwar Magude appeared also to be losing the expansive relational networks that had sustained them in the past. Yet it is unlikely that these women were losing their capacity to remember, or that their manner of remembering—through narratives, objects and signs that joined individual memory to relational action—could be erased as easily as a line scratched in Magude's sandy soil.

As I write the final sentences of this book I am keenly aware that one of my most treasured mementos from Magude—a tiny gourd decorated with brightly colored beadwork—sits quietly on my window ledge where it is always visible from the corner of my eye while I work. Whenever I turn my head to look at it, I remember N'waMangaviyane pressing it into my hands after our last interview in November 1996. She called it a xitsungulo, an amulet containing a powerful medicine that would protect me from illness and witchcraft when I returned to the United States. But as we both knew, her handmade gift was also a reminder, a xitsundzuxo commemorating our many hours together but also binding our futures through the histories we now shared. As inventive and forward- and outward-looking as always, N'waMangaviyane and her fellow women—and, I must believe, the generations of rural women who come after them—will continue to manage their changing world through ever evolving forms of historical memory: perhaps not clay pots or tattoos or lines dividing cultivated fields, but switsundzuxo similarly created from the common labors, materials, hopes, and knowledges of everyday life. Whether anyone will take these memories seriously—well, that's another story.


Note 1: On female captives who served as "brides" of Renamo soldiers in camps such as Ngungwe, see Kathleen Sheldon, Pounders of Grain: A History of Women, Work, and Politics in Mozambique (Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 2002), 198.  Back.

Note 2: The Ngungwe River is a small affluent of the Massintonto River.  Back.

Note 3: The verb he used, kulahela, more broadly means to use medicine to prevent misfortune such as the presence of snakes, destructive animals in the fields, or thieves in the village.  Back.

Note 4: Kukandziya, to walk upon, stamp or tramp on. Field notes 4 (31 October 1995), 99-141  Back.

Note 5: For example, Jocelyn Alexander, "Land and Political Authority in Post-war Mozambique: Notes from Manica Province" (Land Tenure Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, October 1994); JoAnn McGregor, "Staking Their Claims: Land Disputes in Southern Mozambique," paper 158 (Land Tenure Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, January 1997); Gregory W. Myers, "Competitive Rights, Competitive Claims: Land Access in Post-war Mozambique," Journal of Southern African Studies 20, no. 4 (1994): 603-32; G. W. Myers, J. Eliseu, and E. Nhachungue, "Security and Conflict in Mozambique: Case Studies of Land Access in the Post-war Period" (Land Tenure Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, December 1993); Jose Negrão, "Uso de Terra em Matutuine," Maputo, 1996.  Back.

Note 6: Until recently, there has been little published work on women and land in Mozambique. See Jean Davison, "Land Redistribution in Mozambique and Its Effects on Women's Collective Production: Case Studies from Sofala Province," in Agriculture, Women, and Land: The African Experience, ed. Jean Davison (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1988); and the essays in Rachel Waterhouse and Carin Vijfhuizen, eds., Strategic Women, Gainful Men: Gender, Land and Natural Resources in Different Rural Contexts in Mozambique (Maputo: Nucleo de Estudos de Terra, Faculty of Agronomy and Forestry Engineering, University of Eduardo Mondlane, 2001).  Back.

Note 7: See Heidi Gengenbach, Women, Land, and Resettlement in Magude District: A Field Study (Maputo: Norwegian Council, 1997); and M. de Jongh, "Mozambican Refugee Resettlement: Survival Strategies of Involuntary Migrants in South Africa," Journal of Refugee Studies, 7, nos. 2 and 3 (1994): 220-38.  Back.

Note 8: In this paper, I use the term small-scale farmer to refer to people who rely on non-mechanized technologies and non-wage and/or casual hired labor, and who engage only intermittently with agricultural markets. By private or commercial farmer (in Portuguese, agricultor), I mean one who relies on mechanized technologies, including irrigation, to produce primarily for the market.  Back.

Note 9: Gengenbach, Women, Land and Resettlement.  Back.

Note 10: Myers, "Competitive Rights, Competitive Claims," 631.  Back.

Note 11: This stereotype was useful both to the Frelimo government and to national peasant organizations demanding new legal protections for farmers' land rights. It provided justification for retaining state ownership of the land and for refusing to recognize custom in statutory law—even in the new land law approved by the Mozambican parliament in July 1997, which was roundly praised as a "victory for peasants." See Mozambique Peace Process Bulletin, issue 19, part 2 (September 1997).  Back.

Note 12: Henri A. Junod, The Life of a South African Tribe (London: Macmillan, 1927), 2:5-9; Ana Loforte, "Direitos consuetudinários em Moçambique: Normas relativas a herança e transmissão de terras—O caso do Sul de Moçambique" (Maputo, 1996); Negrão, "Uso de terra em Matutuine." Tiko embraces both the land and the political community of people inhabiting it; misava (earth, soil, sand), another term used to refer to land, denotes the soil or the physical ground as opposed to air, water, the heavens.  Back.

Note 13: Henri A. Junod wrote that within this system, land is "gratuitously assigned to any and all who wish to settle in the country" (Life, 2:6). The practice of kukondza, described by Junod (1:433), in which prospective immigrants make a formal act of submission to the chief in exchange for permission to settle, is a crucial political dimension of this transaction; however, according to the model, the actual selection of land for newcomers is generally the responsibility of the chief's subordinates (2:6).  Back.

Note 14: On bridewealth in southern Mozambique, see Adam Kuper, "Tied by Bridewealth: the Tsonga Case," in Essays on African Marriage in Southern Africa, ed. Eileen Jensen Krige and John L. Comaroff (Cape Town: Juta, 1981).  Back.

Note 15: When a man dies, his widow is fourth in the inheritance hierarchy, after his sons, father and paternal uncles, and brothers and brothers' sons.  Back.

Note 16: See Signe Arnfred, "Reflections on Family Form and Gender Policy in Mozambique" (unpublished paper, 1991); Isabel Casimiro, A mulher e a lei na África austral: Projecto de investigação. Direito a sucessão e herança: Moçambique (Maputo: Departamento de Estudos da Mulher e do Género, Centro de Estudos Africanos, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, 1993); Barbara Isaacman and June Stephen, Mozambique: Women, the Law, and Agrarian Reform (Addis Ababa: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, ATRCW / Ford Foundation, 1980); Stephanie Urdang, And Still They Dance: Women, War, and the Struggle for Change in Mozambique (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1989); Sherilynn Young, "Women in Transition: Southern Mozambique, 1975-6. Reflections on Colonialism, Aspirations for Independence" (unpublished paper, 1977).  Back.

Note 17: Interview with Alberto Nkuna, 15 November 1996, Facazisse.  Back.

Note 18: Following Elizabeth Tonkin, I understand tradition here as a kind of storytelling. As Tonkin writes, tradition is "directed by social ends," so that "social relations are partly reproduced through members' representations of them" (Elizabeth Tonkin, "Investigating Oral Tradition," Journal of African History 27 [1986]: 211).  Back.

Note 19: Interview with Alberto Nkuna, 15 November 1996, Facazisse; interview with Nalia Valoi, 18 October 1996, Facazisse.  Back.

Note 20: Interviews with Cufassane Munisse, 1 March 1996, Matendeni (Magude town); Lucia Ntumbo, 25 February 1996, Nhiuana (Phadjane).  Back.

Note 21: Interview with Maria Xivuri, 26 October 1996, Mapulanguene; interview with Marta Mabunda, 2 November 1996, Ngungwe/Muqakaze (Moamba district); interview with Alberto Nkuna, 15 November 1996, Facazisse.  Back.

Note 22: Interview with Virginia Mafuyeke, 20 October 1996, Nhiuana (Phadjane); interview with Talvina Khosa, 1 February 1996, Facazisse.  Back.

Note 23: Interview with Marta Mabunda, 2 November 1996, Ngungwe/Muqakaze (Moamba district); interview with Virginia Mafuyeke, 20 October 1996, Nhiuana (Phadjane); interview with Alberto Nkuna, 15 November 1996, Facazisse.  Back.

Note 24: Interview with Misse Xivuri, 29 February 1996, Matendeni (Magude town).  Back.

Note 25: A woman farming land acquired through her husband and wishing to transfer a field to someone else was expected to consult her husband, if he was home; if he opposed the idea, she generally respected his decision. But such a transaction was normally initiated between the woman who "owned" the field and the prospective borrower/recipient of it, and it would never have been concluded without the wife's participation and consent.  Back.

Note 26: This principle applied whether a farmer cultivated with a hoe, ox-drawn plow, or tractor. Some women remember having fields as large as four or five hectares before the war.  Back.

Note 27: Interview with Olinda Chavango, 8 June 1995, Facazisse; interview with Lucia Ntumbo, 25 February 1996, Facazisse.  Back.

Note 28: Interview with Melina Xivuri, 5 December 1995, Ngungwe/Muqakaze (Moamba district); interview with Rosalina Malungana, 26 December 1995, Facazisse; interview with Jane Mundlovu, 31 August 1996, Matendeni (Magude town). See "Lives of Girls" in chap. 3.  Back.

Note 29: Interview with Albertina Tiwana, 23 November 1996, Facazisse.  Back.

Note 30: Interview with Elmone Mundlovu, 1 October 1996, Matendeni (Magude town).  Back.

Note 31: Interview with Misse Xivuri, Magude town, 29 February, 1996; interview with Rositalina Khosa, Mapulanguene, 27 October, 1996; interview with Talvina Khosa, Facazisse, 26 February, 1996. See also Henri A. Junod (Life, 1:36 ff., 199 ff.) on masungukati's duties related to childbirth and widowhood.  Back.

Note 32: Ndzhaka is also believed to cause fatal illness in a homestead where proper ceremonies have not been done. See chap. 3.  Back.

Note 33: Group interview with Yotassane Xivuri, Talita Khosa, Marta Mabunda, Ruti Mabungela, and Angelina Mawelele, 5 December 1996, Ngungwe/Muqakaze (Moamba district); interview with Nestacia Mundlovu, 22 August 1995, Matendeni (Magude town); interview with Talita Ubisse, 27 June 1995 (Facazisse). Masungukati performed a similar ceremony as a cure for invasions of caterpillars in the cornfields. In this case, they gathered caterpillars from afflicted fields and tossed them into the nearest body of water—a symbolic remedy that was supposed to drive them from the chiefdom.  Back.

Note 34: See, for example, Armando Longle, "De Inhambane a Lourenço Marques," Boletim da Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa 6 (1886): 25; J. A. Matheus Serrano, "Explorações portuguezas em Lourenço Marques e Inhambane," BSGL 13 (1894): 429.  Back.

Note 35: Interview with Sinai Mundlovu, 11 October 1996, Facazisse; interview with Alberto Nkuna, 15 November 1996, Facazisse.  Back.

Note 36: For a discussion of how the ambiguous, situational, and negotiable character of social identity is an important factor in shaping resource access within customary tenure systems, see Sara Berry, "Concentration Without Privatization? Some Consequences of Changing Patterns of Rural Land Control in Africa," in Land and Society in Contemporary Africa, ed. R. E. Downs and S. P. Reyna (Hanover: University Press of New England, 1988).  Back.

Note 37: E.g., Davison, Agriculture, Women, and Land; William Grigsby, "Women, Descent, and Tenure Succession Among the Bambara of West Africa: A Changing Landscape," Human Organization, 55 (1996): 93-98; Achola P. Okeyo, "Daughters of the Lakes and Rivers: Colonization and the Land Rights of Luo Women," in Women and Colonization: Anthropological Perspectives, ed. M. Etienne and E. Leacock (New York: Praeger, 1980).  Back.

Note 38: For example, the essays in Downs and Reyna, Land and Society in Contemporary Africa; Pauline Peters, Dividing the Commons: Politics, Policy, and Culture in Botswana (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994); Laurel Rose, The Politics of Harmony: Land Dispute Strategies in Swaziland (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992).  Back.

Note 39: The regulado that eventually became known as Facazisse was assigned in 1900 to N'wachumbote Khosa, who was succeeded after his death in 1902 by his sister Monasse. Monasse ruled until 1926 and was succeeded by Facazisse Khosa; he in turn was succeeded in 1942 by N'waMukomati. See Paul Berthoud, Les Negres Gouamba ou Les vingt premieres années de la Mission romande (Lausanne: Conseil de la Mission romande, 1896); José Armando Vidal Capão, "Autoridades tradicionais de Magude: 1895-1975. Repertórios de documentos," (Licenciatura em Historia, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, 1985); José Fonseca, "Monografia da tribo Cossa" (manuscript, Inhambane, 1957); correspondence from Cossine Military Commander to District Governor, 1891-1895, AHM, Fundo do Século XIX, GDLM, Caixa 105, Pasta M1(1).  Back.

Note 40: Fonseca, "Monografia," 9.  Back.

Note 41: On the beginnings of the Swiss Mission in Mozambique, see J. van Butselaar, Africains, missionnaires et colonialistes: Les origines de l'Église Presbytérienne du Mozambique (Mission Suisse), 1880-1896 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1984).  Back.

Note 42: Arthur Grandjean, "Rapport sur l'oeuvre missionnaire au Littoral de la baie de Delagoa pendant l'année 1892," SMA, Box 1256 A/4, p. 28.  Back.

Note 43: Frank Paillard, "Rapport sur l'église d'Antioka durant l'année 1910-1911," SMA 106 D, p. 2.  Back.

Note 44: Paillard, "Rapport sur l'église d'Antioka durant l'année 1910-1911," p. 4. For a description of the full range of soil types in Magude district, see Gengenbach, Women, Land, and Resettlement, 16-17.  Back.

Note 45: Documents pertaining to these concessions are found in Processos 682 and 20, respectively, in the archive of Mozambique's Direcção Nacional de Geografia e Cadastre (DINAGECA).  Back.

Note 46: Paillard, "Rapport sur l'église d'Antioka durante l'année 1910-1911," pp. 4-6.  Back.

Note 47: P. de Mesquita Pimental, "4a Circumscripção: Magude", in Distrito de Lourenço Marques, Relatório das Circumscripções, 1911-1912 (Lourenço Marques: Imprensa Nacional, 1913), 31; letter from Circumscription Administrator, A. Cardoso Constâncio to Director of Land Surveying, 28 November, 1917, in Processo 20, DINAGECA.  Back.

Note 48: Frank Paillard, "Rapport sur la station d'Antioka en 1911-1912", SMA 106 E. For details on this scheme as it developed between 1911 and 1925 (when flooding caused the property to be abandoned for several years) and for missionaries' claims about the extent to which it transformed food security and family life among Christians, see the annual reports from Antioka in SMA 28, 30, 106, 125, 129, 161, 1153, 1155, 1252, and 1610. Information about the land's use in later years is contained in "Matimu ya mafikela ya evangeli tikweni ra le Khoseni," by Sinai Mundlovu (unpublished manuscript).  Back.

Note 49: The cadastral registers recording land concessions in colonial Magude include Registo de Concessões, Compartimentos I-IV, DINAGECA, pp. 20-21, 48-49; and the Livros de Pedidos for Maputo and Gaza provinces, also at DINAGECA.  Back.

Note 50: Interview with Alfredo Sambo, 3 October 1996, Facazisse; interview with Alberto Nkuna, 15 November 1996, Facazisse. See also Registo de Concessões, Compartimentos I-IV, p. 20. DINAGECA registers from the early 1900s are incomplete and fragmented, and over the course of the colonial period titled properties were often informally taken over by and/or rented out to other Europeans and, later, Africans, whose names rarely appeared in the official land registry.  Back.

Note 51: António Policarpo de Sousa Santos, "Relatório das inspecções ás administrações de: concelho de Gaza, circumscripção de Bilene, circumscripção de Manhiça, e circumscripção de Magude," ISANI, 1953.  Back.

Note 52: Interview with Sinai Mundlovu, 11 October 1996, Facazisse; interview with Alfredo Sambo, 3 October 1996, Facazisse; interview with Fernando Sitoi, 1 October 1996, Facazisse.  Back.

Note 53: Policarpo de Sousa Santos, "Relatório das Inspecções."  Back.

Note 54: Karen E. Fields, "What One Cannot Remember Mistakenly," Oral History Journal 17, no. 1 (1989): 44-53.  Back.

Note 55: Popular Memory Group, "Popular Memory: Theory, Politics, Method", in Making Histories: Studies in History-Writing and Politics, ed. Richard Johnson et al. (London: Hutchinson in association with the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, University of Birmingham, 1982).  Back.

Note 56: Interview with Marta Matlava, 5 November 1996, Magude town.  Back.

Note 57: Tsonga-English Dictionary, comp. R. Cuenod (Braamfontein: Sasavona, 1991).  Back.

Note 58: Interview with Marta Matlava, Magude town, 5 November, 1996.  Back.

Note 59: Interview with Facazisse Khosa, 5 November 1996, Facazisse. An official count in 1969 found that Facazisse had 558 cattle, compared to an average of over 3,300 for all other regulados in the circumscription (Julião dos Santos Peixe, "Diário de Serviço," 22 and 27 December 1969).  Back.

Note 60: Sinai Mundlovu, "Matimu," 5; interview with Tercina Ntimane, 19 February 1996, Facazisse; interview with Alfredo Sambo, 3 October 1996, Facazisse.  Back.

Note 61: On the Makuvulane cooperative, see Mundlovu, "Matimu." Also, interview with Margarida Khosa, 30 October 1996, Makuvulane; interview with Rodrigues Khosa, 12 October 1996, Makuvulane; interview with Olinda Ntimba, 1 November 1996, Makuvulane.  Back.

Note 62: Interview with Rodrigues Khosa, 12 October 1996, Makuvulane; interview with Sara Ndove, 15 October 1996, Facazisse; interview with Tercina Ntimane, 19 February 1996, Facazisse.  Back.

Note 63: Interview with Alfredo Sambo, 3 October 1996, Facazisse. On Magude's state farms, see also Gengenbach, Women, Land, and Resettlement, 138-39.  Back.

Note 64: Interview with Sinai Mundlovu, 11 October 1996, Facazisse; interview with Alberto Macie, District Director of Agriculture, 4 October 1996, Magude town.  Back.

Note 65: Interview with Nalia Valoi, 18 October 1996, Facazisse.  Back.

Note 66: G. R. Dent, Compact Zulu Dictionary (Pietermaritzburg: Shuter & Shooter, 1959).  Back.

Note 67: Interview with Fernando Sitoi, 1 October 1996, Facazisse. For early evidence of the mission's role as a sanctuary for women, see A. Grandjean, "Rapport sur l'oeuvre missionnaire au Littoral de la baie de Delagoa pendant l'année 1892," SMA 1256 A/4.  Back.

Note 68: Interview with Sinai Mundlovu, 11 October 1996, Facazisse.  Back.

Note 69: Interview with Alfredo Sambo, 3 October 1996, Facazisse.  Back.

Note 70: Gengenbach, Women, Land, and Resettlement, 140. Authorities' favoring of wealthy private farmers was widely resented, and it sparked violent protest in late 1992.  Back.

Note 71: Gengenbach, Women, Land, and Resettlement, 136-58.  Back.

Note 72: Interview with Marta Matlava, 5 November 1996, Magude town; interview with Florinda Machava, 13 October 1996, Tlhongana (Phadjane).  Back.

Note 73: Gengenbach, Women, Land, and Resettlement, 9-14 and passim.  Back.

Note 74: Because the Facazisse LC seemed to be functioning well, district officials were happy to increase its mandate during the war, when Magude town's overwhelming needs left them with little time to devote to rural communities (interview with Alberto Macie, 4 October 1996, Magude town).  Back.

Note 75: Many older women equated going to school with being a Christian, since schools were first introduced by the Swiss missionaries. See chapter 2.  Back.

Note 76: Interview with Amélia Marquele, 9 March 1996, Facazisse.  Back.

Note 77: Interview with Teasse Xivuri, 18 August 1995, Magude town.  Back.

Note 78: Community meeting, Facazisse, 16 November 1996.  Back.

Note 79: Interview with Facazisse Khosa, 5 November 1996, Facazisse.  Back.

Note 80: Interview with Angelina Mundlovu, 30 October 1996, Magude town.  Back.

Note 81: Interview with Alfredo Sambo, 3 October 1996, Facazisse.  Back.

Note 82: Interview with Angelina Mundlovu, 30 October 1996, Magude town.  Back.

Note 83: Interview with Alfredo Sambo, 3 October 1996, Facazisse.  Back.

Note 84: Interview with Adelina Josina, 21 October 1996, Facazisse.  Back.

Note 85: Interview with Sara Ndove, 15 October 1996, Facazisse.  Back.

Note 86: Gengenbach, Women, Land, and Resettlement, 136-58.  Back.

Note 87: Interview with Alberto Macie, 15 March 1996, Magude town.  Back.

Note 88: See, for example, José Negrão, "Alternativas para o 'Sector Familiar': Notas à política nacional de terras e ao anteprojecto da Lei de Terras," Extra 17 (June 1996): 58-63.  Back.

Note 89: Interview with Alfredo Sambo, 3 October 1996, Facazisse.  Back.


Binding Memories: Women as Makers and Tellers of History in Magude, Mozambique