University of Sussex
Karen Boswall - Silence & Video Testemony Perugia 2016 12.10.pptx (646.15 MB)

Silence and video testimony in post(pre?)-war Mozambique

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posted on 2023-06-09, 11:53 authored by Karen Boswall
This presentation draws on extracts from a film made in 1997 that came out of a creative participatory process with men and women from a Mozambican village called Ilha Josina in the years following the peace accord that followed 16 years of a brutal civil war (1976-1992). At the end of the war, rapists and murderes and their victims on both sides - often whose crimes were known to one another - had to learn to build their lives again and live together side by side. When the guns fell silent, the tales of death and brutality that had been shared across the country throughout the war, fell silent too; the solution embraced by communities country-wide involved keeping the memories and horror of the war to themselves, shared only in the privacy of their own homes. Through ritual cleansing and a commitment to public silence, a new harmony was sought amongst the entire community, a harmony that was negotiated between the living - and the dead. Women played an important role in generating and keeping this silence, which arguably contributed to the relative peace enjoyed by the next generation of Mozambicans, but how important is this silence now? In August this year I returned to Ilha Josina to discuss the legacy of the ritual cleansing and reconcilliation documented there with the community twenty years ago. I will present my findings at the conference and discuss the next project proposed by some of the women I met there who consider breaking their silence and sharing their testemonies from the sixteen year war in a new film in the hope it might influence the next generation to continue to value the Peace they have worled so hard to maintain.


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Published version

Presentation Type

  • other

Event name


Event location

University of Perugia

Event type


Event date

October 14-16 2016

Department affiliated with

  • Anthropology Publications

Research groups affiliated with

  • Centre for Material Digital Culture Publications

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • No

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