Treatment for traitors by Bertels, Ike
Samora Machel did more than any other individual to shape the Mozambican nation. He fought colonialism in his own country and stood for a sense of black-pride. For many of South Africa's current ANC leaders, Samora Machel's Mozambique was a safe-haven during the apartheid years. yet, Machel was no saint. His regime was intolerant of criticism, and some of its economic policies did great harm. But during the long war against the Portuguese colonialists, and later during the first, heady years of independence, he created a sense of national pride. And he is, on the whole, remembered by his people with great affection.
Since Samora's mysterious death in 1986 much has changed in both Mozambique and South Africa and, on the whole, for the better. In Mozambique the long-running civil war has ended. It is still desperately poor, but it is a largely peaceful multi-party democracy. So too is South Africa. And the man who steered South Africa through its transition, former President Nelson Mandela, is now married to Samora Machel's widow, Graca.
After World War II, while many European nations were granting independence to their colonies, Portugal maintained that Mozambique and other Portuguese possessions were overseas provinces of the mother country, and emigration to the colonies soared. Calls for Mozambican independence developed apace, and in 1962 several anti-colonial political groups formed the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), which initiated an armed campaign against Portuguese colonial rule in September 1964. However, Portugal had occupied the country for more than four hundred years; not all Mozambicans desired independence, and fewer still sought change through armed revolution. Poverty was widespread, and the Portuguese dictatorship maintained a policy of mandatory ("forced") labour up until the 1960s. FRELIMO initially established some "liberated" zones in Northern Mozambique, and the strength of the movement gradually grew over the ensuing decade. By 1974 the Portuguese army knew that, especially in Mozambique, the colonial wars were unwinnable. Mozambique became independent on June 25, 1975. After independence, FRELIMO rapidly established a one-party state allied to the Soviet bloc. FRELIMO eliminated religious schools, the role of tribal chiefs and was was drawn into the struggle against white rule in Rhodesia and South Africa.