The panel (from left) Paulina Chiziane, Rachel Uziel, Conceição Evaristo and Mia Couto

The International Womens Day was celebrated here in Maputo with various happenings. I went to a very inspiring evening in the French-Mozambican Culture Center, a very active place close to my home that very often runs all kinds of  events from rock concerts to cultural dialogues and childrens events. In the auditorium there was a panel dialogue about the theme “Women and Borders” (Mulhiers e Frontiers). The dialogue was something to celebrate in my memory. Great guests, three grand ladies, Conceição Evaristo, Rachel Uziel and Paulina Chiziane.

The Brazilian writer Conceição Evaristo, has published short stories and poetry in Cadernos Negros. She lives in Rio de Janeiro. It was very interesting to listen to her describe her upbringing as a black Brazilian and how her introduction to literature was in the beginning only verbal. She spoke of her black colour as her first border that she has all through her life had to cross.

The Jewish professor of literature Rachel Uziel, spoke of her upbringing as a Bulgarian, the experiences of her family during the Nazi regime and the World War. Then her move to Israel and further passing of boundaries from one culture to an other. Her dialogue was interspersed with great short songs and inspiring exclamations.

Paulina Chiziane is a Mozambican writer who writes novels and short stories in Portugese. She is the writer of the first book that I bought by a Mozambican writer. I am still struggling of course with the language but enjoyed it. She was the first woman in Mozambique to publish a novel. Her writing has generated some polemical discussions about social issues, such as the practice of polygamy in the country. I did really like her talk, she got very enthusiastic applause after talking about passing the borders from being black woman, from living under white rule when she said that the whole black nation was really in the condition of being women. She spoke of how the new nation was established in the Seventies and how women did not participate in the writing of the constitution and other fundamental texts of the nation.

The Mozambican writer Mia Couto is considered one of the leading writers here in Mozambique. Though he writes in Portuguese, Couto has tried to forge a new literary style that blends the European language with the rich oral traditions of the country’s indigenous Bantu and Swahili speakers. Mia was a kind of a panel director, giving comments and bringing up questions to the three great ladies.

From the exhibition “Women and Borders”

After there was an opening of a photo exhibition in the culture centre: The photos were the selected results from a photo competition that was held to the same theme “Women and Frontiers”.

From the presentation of the exhibition and the handing out of the prizes for the best photographs.

March 8, 2010  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: PONDERINGS