Mozambique celebrated its independence on Wednesday (25 June) after nearly 500 years of colonial rule by Portugal.
Mozambique celebrated its independence on Wednesday (25 June) after nearly 500 years of colonial rule by Portugal. The independence was a victory for the Frelimo Army (Mozambique Liberation Front) which has been involved in guerrilla warfare in the former East African colony for the past decade.
The new government will be led by Mr. Samora Machel, President of Frelimo, who made a triumphant return to the capital Lourenco Marques on Monday (23 June).
It was his first visit to the city since the 10-year liberation war began. The change is the most significant recent event in Southern Africa, bringing a Marxist-leaning Black government to the doorsteps of the last remaining White-ruled states in Africa--Rhodesia and South Africa.
There to greet Mr. Machel was Mr. Joaquim Chissano, who has been Prime Minister in the transitional Government appointed by Frelimo last September.
Africanisation of Mozambique has already begun. Huge stone statues of white pioneers have been dismantled, streets are being re-named and so is the capital. Lourenco Marques was named after a Portuguese trader who sailed into the bay in the 16th century at the time that Phumo, an African chief, was setting up camp near the waters edge. The new city will be renamed Can Phumo-the place of Phumo.
But while removing all things colonial, Frelimo is urging whites to remain and help rebuild a new nation. About 120,000 have accepted the offer.
There was only one Head of State due to attend the celebrations-President Said Barre of Somalia. Other visitors include the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of the Camorouns, Mr. Mayi-Matip, and the Vice-President of Tanzania, Mr. Rashidi Kawawa.