women of authority

‘“The rainha is the boss!”: On Masculinities, Time and Precolonial Women of Authority in Northern Mozambique’, Gender & History (2022)

This article focuses on the oral historical narratives about precolonial women of authority (or rainhas in Portuguese) to explore the deeper history of gendered power in northern Mozambique.

History-telling is a gendered practice, and nowadays male elders are usually the ones most knowledgeable in these narratives. Moreover, telling these tales – which in interview situations involves personal interpretations and comments – the men also story gendered temporal worlds. This article looks more closely at two seemingly clashing (and incompatible) storylines that emerge in the oral history material. One tells of women’s spiritual-political power in the Yaawo chieftaincies in precolonial times, while the other tells a narrative of masculinised power and woman’s subordinate position in relation to male leaders. The article focus’s especially on how the male narrators talk about masculinity and how different models of masculinity in turn shape the historical narratives they tell.

Read full article for free (pre-publication view): https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/share/author/JGDPBTIBGSGJWXQSYDKB?target=10.1111/1468-0424.12590

On Gender, Power and Time in Northern Mozambique: A three-part photo essay series

Acknowledgements: These essays are based on research that I conducted in collaboration with Helena Baide and Domingos Aly. I owe them both my sincerest gratitude! Helena accompanied me in all the interviews and Domingos transcribed the interviews, also helping me with the translation from Ciyaawo to Portuguese.