Liberating Taste: Memories of War, Food and Cooking in Northern Mozambique

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This article focuses on the sensory and affective dimension of food, cooking and eating in ex-combatants’ life narratives in northern Mozambique. It explores the polytemporality reflected in food memories, and the ways in which the past, present and future are connected in the present experience of remembering. For the ex-combatants, food is strongly linked to their memories of the liberation struggle (1964–74). Drawing on life history research with Ciyaawo-speaking ex-combatants in the north-western province of Niassa between 2012 and 2014, this article traces the changing ideas and meanings of food and eating in their life narratives from their childhood, through wartime to the period of ‘liberation’. After independence, most ex-combatants settled down as subsistence farmers with the expectation that ‘finally’ they would ‘eat well’. Yet, for many, their experience of independent Mozambique has been that of socio-economic and political marginalisation. While food is crucial to survival, this article looks at how food is so much more than just nutrition. In the ex-combatants’ memories, aesthetic aspects of food are closely intertwined with the revolutionary ideas of liberation and socio-economic justice. The meaning of food in the ex-combatants’ narratives, as the article argues, is shaped simultaneously and in complex ways through their personal aesthetic experiences and memories of food as well as the changing political aesthetics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Southern African Studies
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)965-984
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 615 History and Archaeology
  • food
  • liberation movements
  • war memories
  • Mozambique
  • sensory aesthetics
  • socio-economic justice
  • food
  • liberation
  • war memories
  • Mozambique
  • sensory aesthetics

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