This paper attempts to shed the light on the situation of women with respect to land in Mozambique. The research was conceived within the framework of the project on Cultural Transformation in Africa and Human Rights Paradigm coordinated by Professor Abdullahi An-Na’im, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. The main objective of the project is to promote an empirically sound, yet visionary and dynamic understanding of the relationships between religion, law, and human rights in the context of cultural transformations in Africa. The working concept of the project takes a broad view of religion to include local/indigenous belief systems and customary practices, religious and customary law, as well as State civil law and enforcement institutions and processes in order to envision an innovative view on human rights which draws on local, cultural, and legal norms and institutions, and priorities set by locals.
The fieldwork research was conducted in the Nampula Province of northern Mozambique, where diverse, but relatively homogeneous, religious rural communities are found. One of the interesting features of this region is the prevalence of the matrilineality, particularly given gendered approaches of the research. The impact of modern State and associated institutions on womens situations with regard to land are not easily perceptible because in rural Mozambique as elsewhere in Africa, womens statuses and rights are linked to kinship and culture. Thus, the primary focus of the research was on women and land within kinship, family and community units. These units were drawn from three regions of Nampula Province: Muslims of Inguri bairro (zone) of the Angoche City, Catholics of the Anchilo Adminsitrative Post (Posto Adminstrativo) near provincial capital Nampula City, and followers of indigenous beliefs of Corrane Administrative Post in Meconta District. A pilot study was conducted at the Muecate Adminsistrative Post in the District with the same name. Religious identity of the members of each of these communities is, of course, just one among multiple identities they hold, including ethnic ones. Communities were chosen through initial consultations with local and provincial administrative and religious leaders; however, collective and individual religious identities were later confirmed with the respondents themselves. In all regions, Makua language speakers and Makua ethnic identity predominated, except for Inguri where Koti language and identity prevailed.
The research focused on socio-cultural and legal contexts in which women establish and maintain their access to, useage, management and disposal of the land, while controlling resources, accessing and using benefits derived from land use, and also, on womens participation in household decision-making. It also assessed the accessibility and the extent to which women benefit from legal norms and religio-cultural, economic, legal, and women-oriented institutions. The research used numerous primary and secondary data sources, including legal documents promulgated by the Portuguese colonial and post-colonial Mozambican State, historical and ethnographic material on customary and religious practices, and existing literature and reports of different entities. Primary data collection was undertaken through the study of court records and individual semi-structured interviews on key informants and also by administering 50 household questionnaires in each of the chosen study sites. Interviews were carried out with court and land registry officials, officers of the Ministry of Agriculture, Muslim religious dignitaries, church leaders, community chiefs, feminist and Human Rights activists, and members of various NGOs.
Gender issues were also addressed in participatory focus group discussions with homogeneous groups of local women and with mixed groups of local men and women.
I.1.Description of the Study Sites
According to the 1997 Second General Census of the Population , total population of Nampula Province is estimated at 2.975.747. The Census established that 1.139.564 people within this provincial population were Muslim, 808.875 were Catholic, and 320.388 were followers of other Christian sects, including African Christian Churches. 47.974 people of the Nampula Province were identified as Animists, which are followers of local indigenous African beliefs. Rural population is estimated 2.232.109.
Inguri, Angoche City, Angoche District
The district of Angoche has an estimated 114.607 inhabitants . Population density of the District is relatively high, resulting in conflicts with respect to land and water. Total area used by the family sector (household economy) for agriculture of the District is 66.467 ha, or 22%. The main economic activity of the District is agriculture. The basic alimentary cultures are cassava roots, groundnuts, maize, rice and beans. Main cash crops are cashew nuts, groundnuts, coconuts, rice and maize.
The population of the City of Angoche is estimated 88.716 people . Of this, 23.270.000 inhabit a bairro (quarter) called Inguri. The majority of the Inguri inhabitants had came from the Koti Islands and claim Koti ethnic identity. According to local officials, more than 80% are Muslim . Although Inguri is an urban area, the population has agricultural fields outside the city and are also involved in fishing to a great extent. Trade, crafts and industry are in decay as a result of the civil war and IFM and World Bank economic policies with directed at the production of cashew nuts.
Corrane Administrative Post, Meconta District
Total population of the Meconta District is estimated 123.097 at people . The population density of the District is moderate in comparison to other regions of the Province. The family sector (household economy) occupies 43.306 Ha of the land, approximately 11.6% . Total population of the Corrane Administrative Post is estimated at 42.098 people.
The main economic activity is agriculture. Basic alimentary products cultivated by the family sector (household economy) are cassava, groundnuts, maize, beans, rice and yams. Cash crops are cashew nuts, groundnuts and cotton. The tobacco cultivation is recent and limited. Although there are rivers, fishing is not considered important in the district, but domestic animals, such as chickens, pigs and goats are kept.
Anchilo Administrative Post, Nampula District
Total population of the Nampula District is estimated at 140.000, yet the population density is not elevated. The family sector (household economy) occupies about 40.023 Ha. Main crops for household consumption are cassava, groundnuts, sorghum, maize, and rice. Cotton, sugar cane and cashew nuts are grown for commercial purposes.
Total population of Anchilo Administrative Post is estimated at 19.449 people. Anchilo is a rural zone in the interior of the Province and is subject to great influence from the provincial capital situated 20 km away.
Muecate Administrative Post, Muecate District – Pilot Study
Total population of Muecate Adminsitrative Post was estimated at 77.906 in 1998. 32517 hectares of land were being used for agriculture, mainly by the family sector (household economy) that produced maize, cassava, rice, beans, and groundnuts for household consumption. Cash crops are cotton, cashew trees, and sunflower.
I.2. Socio-demographic characteristics of the survey respondents
A total of 150 households had been surveyed in Anchilo, Inguri and Corrane. The age of women respondents ranged from 18 to 87. Literacy among women was low, while 50% have never attended any formal schooling and 50% had a basic primary education, in many cases not completed. In Inguri, 60% of the women have attended Qur’anic schools. 104 (70%) of the respondents were married, 46 women (30%) were widows and divorced. Of these, 22 (14%) were widows and 24 (16%) were divorced.
Among the married people, 60 (57%) constituted nuclear families comprised of husband, wives(s) and their own children, while 44 (43%) were living together with extended family members in the same household. 1 (4%) divorced woman and 3 (14%) widows were living on their own, while 23 (96%) divorced women and 19 (86%) widows were living with other family members, including children, children’s families, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, uncles or parents, and sometimes kin of the deceased husband.
Among the forms of marriages, de facto unions predominated (47%), whereby a woman and a man started living together without preliminary completion of the ceremonies related to marriage. This form of marriage was the most common in Anchilo (78%), followed by Corrane (52%), and Inguri (10%). The second most widespread form of marriage among the respondents was Muslim (32.7%), 90% of which was found in Inguri, followed by Corrane and Anchilo (4% each); 6% of total marriages were Catholic.
The majority of interviewed people in Inguri (70%) stated that religion of the partner did matter, thus, they preferred marrying Muslims. The majority of the surveyed in Anchilo (100%) and Corrane (96%) said that it did not matter. Out of a total 104 marriages in the survey, 20 (19%) were polygamous. The most frequent number of wives in polygamous marriages was two (92%), followed by three wives (8%).
The average household farmland size was 1.7 Ha, ranging from 0.25 Ha to 30 Ha. The average size of the Koti was higher (2.6.Ha) than in Anchilo (1.3 Ha) and Corrane (1.2. Ha). The largest cash crop lands also belonged to the Koti (two plots – 200 Ha and 225 Ha).
In Muecate Administrative Post, a pilot study site, a total of 44 households were surveyed. Among them 28 (64%) were married, 7 (16%) were comprised of divorced women, and 9 (20%) were widows. 4 (14%) of the marriages were polygamous. Of the 28 married, 21 were composed of parents and their own children, and in 7 cases the family included other kin members residing all together. Two widows were living alone.
Contents | II. Historical and Ethnographic Background
- II General Census of the Population and Houses, 1997. Nampula Province. Definitive Results. Maputo: National Institute of Statistics, July of 1999: 37, 45. Back
- II General Census of the Population and Houses, 1997. Nampula Province. Definitive Results. Maputo: National Institute of Statistics, July of 1999: 4. Back
- District Developments Profiles. Angoche District, Nampula Province. UNHCR/UNDP, Maputo, 1997: 4 Back
- District Developments Profiles. Angoche District, Nampula Province. UNHCR/UNDP, Maputo, 1997: 3 Back
- Interview with Mr Mohammad Hamid, responsible for the Unidade (Unit) 2 of Inguri. Back
- II General Census of the Population and Houses, 1997. Nampula Province. Definitive Results. National Institute of Statistics. Maputo, July of 1999: 10. Back
- District Developments Profiles. Meconta District. Nampula Province. UNHCR/UNDP, Maputo, 1997: 4. Back
- Ibid. Back
- II General Census of the Population and Houses, 1997. Nampula Province. Definitive Results. National Institute of Statistics. Maputo, July of 1999: 17. Back
- District Developments Profiles. Meconta District, Nampula Province. UNHCR/UNDP, Maputo, 1997: 5. Back
- District Developments Profiles. Meconta District, Nampula Province. UNHCR/UNDP, Maputo, 1997: 6. Back
- District Developments Profiles. Nampula District, Nampula Province. UNHCR/UNDP, Maputo, 1997: 3. Back
- Ibid. Back
- Ibid.: 4-5. Back
- II General Census of the Population and House, 1997. Nampula Province. Definitive Results. Maputo: National Institute of Statistics, July of 1999: 22. Back
- Archives of the Posto Adminsitrativo, Muecate Administrative Post, Office of the Administrator Back
- Historical and Ethnographic Background
Both Makua and Koti are Bantu speakers. Koti language is a local variant of Swahili . Although any comprehensive historical linguistic research in Mozambique has yet to be done, local population claimed that their ancestors came from Zambezi valley of central Mozambique . This idea was derived from numerous local oral narratives. Among Makua and Koti the prevailing cultural idea of social organization is matrilineal. According to local oral accounts, people are incorporated into n’loko whose members claim common descendancy from a mythical uterus (erukulo) of a great female ancestor. Each nloko consists of several smaller kinship groups nihimo. The paramount chief of each nloko is called mwene n’loko; and of the chief of each nihimo is called humu or mwene nihimo.
Dominant socio-political positions of certain nloko or nihimo are linked to the idea that its members were first-comers to the territory and therefore, the owners and regulators of the land and its distribution. Inheritance patterns of the matrilineal people in Nampula follow in that a person chosen to replace a maternal uncle or aunt becomes responsible for funeral rites of the deceased and of destinies of kinship lands. Usually this person is a real or putative maternal nephew or niece, a child of the real or putative elder uterine sister of the deceased. In the absence of such an heir, cousins or other family members from the maternal side can inherit, but not direct sons and daughters of the deceased.
While Macua mwene of Muecate and Anchilo connect the predominance of their nloko to the idea of their ancestors being first-comers to the land that, they claim, had not been inhabited before, Corrane mwene had encountered people already living there . In Corrane, oral narratives depict constant contradictions and battles between the new comers and the mwene who came there first.
The particularity of the Inguri is that it is an urban zone and the Koti are not autocrats, but immigrants from the Angoche Islands. The Angoche Islands (the old Swahili name Ngoja was still in use in 1900), were historically and culturally related to the Swahili world. As in other Swahili oral narratives, genealogical histories of the Koti mwene – inhapakho (first-comers) claim Shirazi descending from Kilwa and Zanzibar on the one hand, with the Bantu descending through emigration from the Zambezi region on the other . Angoche Islands were important trading center in the network of East African Swahili towns. Similar to other Swahili communities , the Koti have been primarily farmers. For mainland people, establishing kinship relations with the Koti had been an attractive means to get involved in the Indian Ocean trading opportunities. The scarcity of lands with relatively high population density on the Angoche Islands encourage the Koti to also seek kinship relationships with the mainland in order to gain access to new lands for farming. In particular, the MLay and the Sangage appear to be the major land-givers and kinship relations to the Koti. These two groups pose as important vassals of the Angoche Sultanate in the Portuguese historical accounts . At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Portuguese transformed the mainland opposite to the Angoche Islands and surrounding Paraphato mount into the present urban unit. As a result, the Koti, who had traditionally farmed these lands, were driven further into the mainland in search of land.
From the Portuguese pre-colonial and colonial sources emerges a history of permanent migrations, fissions and fusions, and regroupings in Nampula. Wide involvement in slave economies and international slave trade during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and Portuguese conquest of these territories at the end of the nineteenth century, also often impacted the alterations on the positions of the ruling nloko . Nevertheless, oral narratives present local political history as a chain of continuous and uninterrupted events, where the leading nloko and their paramount chiefs owned the land and politically dominated the territory from time immemorial. Murphy and Bledsoe underscore that oral reproduction and management of the definitions of pivotal historical events are not random, but rather the accounts of these events are strategically selected and altered in order to restructure current sociopolitical relations. Although local chiefs are not incorporated into any State administrative or legal system, currently, their survival and importance are linked because people continue to use operate oral narratives in order to define their identities and kinship positions within the determined territory, and in establishing borders of the lands of each of these kinship groups.
In present, the leadership of women within these kinship groups is difficult to determine, a situation which led scholars to believe that women are inherently oppressed, even in these matrilineal communities . On the course of their conquest, however, the Portuguese had to deal with several paramount female chiefs in Nampula, among them the queen Nguema. In Muecate, oral history narrates  that previous to the Portuguese conquest the owner of the Muecate lands was a woman, apyamwene, whom the Portuguese called rainha, queen. At that time apyamwene was the owner of all these lands. Although there were always enough men, the land was distributed instead among responsible women . The legendary nineteenth century wazir and military leader of the Angoche Sultanate, the Mussa Quanto could not rest until he recovered his beloved sister Mahera from Portuguese captivity. The Portuguese explained his unrest by deep emotional attachment to a beautiful and intelligent Mahera. But, affections aside, the captivity of Mahera probably would have had important socio-political consequences for Mussa Quanto kinship group because she was their apyamwene. The Portuguese recognized that she was a very respected and influential person in Angoche.
In matrilineal kinship groups, among whom this research had been conducted, an apyamwene accompanied each of the mwene. An Apyamwene is usually an elder uterine sister of the mwene. Current apyamwene identifies a niece with promising characteristics, then raises and educates the girl in order to prepare her as a future replacement on the death of a current apyamwene. In Mozambique, State officials, historians and feminist scholars, and even some of the local mwene, frequently downplay the socio-political and cultural influence of the apyamwene. Often they depict apyamwene as being solely responsible for female initiation rituals. While this role is important, an apyamwene is in fact a spiritual leader of the community, whose powers to communicate with land and ancestor spirits help to solve major communal crisis. In oral narratives, an apyamwene is a living carrier of the ancestor spirits of those who emigrated from their birth lands and the one who cleans a new land from its malevolent spirits before people can settle there. In a farming Bantu community, an apyamwene is the one who has powers to heal the land and to oversee its fertility and fertility of people through female initiation rites and other healing practices. Thus, the apyamwne is crucial for the well being of the land and its people.
It is widely believed that the Portuguese envisioned from the very beginning of their colonization the transformation of the matrilineality into patrilineality and associated patriarchy. Although this idea holds as generally accurate for the consequences of the colonization and modernization/development projects of the Portuguese, in legal areas this cannot be proven to be true. As late as in 1933, Article 117 of the new law on Overseas Administration Reform (Refroma Administrativa Ultramarina) permitted the investiture of a woman for the post of local chief within the new colonial administrative system, when having a female chieftaincy was a local tradition (quando essa for a tradiao local). The attributes and duties of a female chief were similar to those of a male chief (As atribuioes e deveres da mulher nomeada chefe de povoaao sao as que ficam consignadas para o chefe da povoaao) . This gender blindness, however, is absent from the language of a 1961 Law on Overseas Administration Reform , where regedores, local chiefs and their entourage are all addressed by a single male gender.
After independence, FRELIMO declared the end of traditional oppression and exploitation structures and their related mentality. Apyamwene, as other traditional institutions, began to be considered obsolete. Womens issues had to now be addressed under the new government, through their participation in OMM (Organizaao da Mulher Moambicana), or the Mozambican Womens Organization. However, despite repetitive persecutions, similar to other traditional institutions, apyamwene continues to play important roles in rural comunities today.
Top | Contents| III. Legal Background
- Schadeberg, T. C. & Mucanheia, F. U. 2000. Ekoti, the Maka or Swahili of Angoche.Koln: Rodiger Koppe Verlag. Back
- Interviews with Afono Chichoche, regulo Rainha of Muecate; Andr Trato, regulo Napita and Fernando Abel, regulo Mucapera of Corrane; Luis Ernesto Umbechuia, regulo Umbechuia of Anchilo. Back
- Interviews with regulo Mucapera. Back
- Lupi, E. C. 1907. Angoche. Breve Memoria sobre uma das capitanias-mres. Lisboa: Ministrio dos Negocios da Marinha e Ultramar. Direco Geral do Ultramar; and interviews with Hasan Bashir the ruling inhapakho. Back
- Glassman, J. 1995. Feasts and Riot. Revelry, Rebellion, and Popular Consciousness on the Swahili Coast, 1856-1888. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, London: James Currey, Nairobi: E.A.E.P & Dar Es Salaam; Mkuki Na Nyota. Back
- Lupi, op. cit.Back
- Botelho, J. J. T. 1936. Histria militar e poltica dos Portugueses em Moambique, de 1833 aos nossos dias. Lisboa; Centro Tip. Colonial; Amorim, Pedro Massano de. 1911. Relatrio sobre a Occupaao de Angoche. Laureno Marques: Imprensa Nacional; Coutinho, Joao de Azevedo. 1941. Memrias de um Velho Marinheiro e Soldado de Africa. Lisboa: Livraria Bertrand. Back
- Murphy, W. P. & Bledsoe, C. H. 1987. Kinship and Territory in the History of a Kpelle Chiefdom (Liberia). In: Kopytoff, I. (ed.) The African Frontier: The Reproduction of Traditional African Societies. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press: 123-147.. Back
- Casimiro, I. et al. 1996. Rights to Succession and Inheritance. In: Women and Law in Southern Africa Research Project. Maputo: Department of Women and Gender Studies. Centre for African Studies. Eduardo Mondlane University. Back
- Coutinho, Joao de Azevedo. 1941. Memrias de um Velho Marinheiro e Soldado de Africa. Lisboa: Livraria Bertrand. Back
- Interview with current paramount chief (regulo) of the Muecate Administrative Post, Afono Chicoche. Back
- Ibid. Back
- Lupi, op.cit Back
- Lupi, ibid. Back
- Vansina, J. 1990. Paths in the Rainforests. Towards a History of Political Tradition In Equatorial Africa. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press; Schoenbrun, D. L. 1998. A Green Place, A Good Place. Agrarian Change, Gender, and Social Identity in the Great Lakes Region to the 15th Century. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann; Kampala: Fountain; Nairobi: EAEP; Oxford: James Currey. Back
- Pitcher, A. 1996.’Conflict and Cooperation: Gendered Roles and Responsibilities within Cotton Households in Northern Mozambique. In: African Studies Review 39, November, 81-112 Back
- Decreto-Lei No. 23:229 Ministrio das Colnias da Repblica Portuguesa aprova a Reforma Administrativa Ultramarina. Boletim Oficial da Colnia de Moambique. I Serie-No. 51. Loureno Marques, 28 de Dezembro de 1933. Back
- Ibid. Back
- Articles 1-7 of the Decreto-Lei No. 43 896. Minsterio do Ultramar, Republica Portuguesa. In Boletim Oficial de Moambique. I Serie, No 36. Loureno Marques, 14 de Setembro de 1961. Back
III. Legal Background
The territories where the research was conducted were conquered by the Portuguese at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. Therefore, only the colonial legislation from the beginning of the twentieth century will be considered here. In official Portuguese legal rhetoric, the population of the Portuguese colonies had been divided into Indigenous and non-Indigenous sectors  . Indigenous people were subject to their own traditions and customs and local traditional chiefs were maintained within the structure of the Portuguese colonial administrative system . The Non-Indigenous population included, as well as the Portuguese, other European and Asian immigrants who were considered citizens of their respective States and subjects to the laws of those States. Unlike other colonial States, and despite several attempts, the Portuguese had never been able to introduce consistently any codified versions of the local traditions and customs . According to the Portuguese colonial rhetoric, in overseas territories legal pluralism prevailed.
After independence, Article 4 of the first 1975 Constitution of Mozambique declared the end of legal pluralism by eliminating traditional oppression and exploitation structures and their related mentality. Although Law No 12/1978 established a dual form of the juridical system, consisting of the Judicial Courts led by professional jurists and the Popular Courts led by non-professional judges, who were elected locally and who arbitrated according to common sense and good will, the main purpose of this measure was to endorse hierarchical uniformity of the system and guarantee the application of the formal law at all levels . In practice, however, despite the persecutions of traditional authority and other equivocal politics of the authoritarian centralized State, the vast majority of Mozambicans continued to follow their local culture and beliefs.
Since 1990, the justice system appears to have become more accommodating to the reality of legal pluralism of Mozambique. Articles 200 and 203 of the 1990 new Constitution of Mozambique endorse all other norms of the legal order and continues to uphold the validity of laws that do not coincide with the Constitution. This allowance was followed by the 1992 reform of the juridical system, where Community Courts replaced Popular Courts. However, their competencies as well as human and material resources remained limited. The difference between the Popular Courts and Community Courts is that the Popular Courts had to consult people through popular assemblies in order to hear their consideration with regard to the legal decisions by the Court, while in Community Courts the final decision rests with the elected judges. Thus, while legally Community Courts are part of official judicial system in Mozambique, in practice they are left to themselves without national or legal coordination . The scope of the competencies of the Community Courts was limited to those cases that are generally referred to as social cases, including conflicts in small scale and cases not involving great sums of money or criminal offences. This continues to be the case up to the present times. Although, while Community Courts do consult official legal documents such as the Penal Code for their decisions, in practice, they seem to rely mainly on informal methods of settling disputes. When they gained the independence, the government of Mozambique nationalized the land resources, yet land that was previously a property of the Portuguese had not been distributed to the peasants. The First Land Bill of the independent Mozambique that was approved in 1979 declared the land of the country State property and formerly private lands became state farms or socialist cooperatives. Smallholder rural families could have half hectares of wet-land and one hectare of dry-land per family member.
With the liberalization of the structural adjustment program beginning in 1987, the land reform issue once again came to fore. The New Land Law 19/97 was approved by the Parliament in 1997. Article 3 of this Law maintains that the land is the property of the State and cannot be sold, or in any other form be alienated, mortgaged or encumbered. However, Article 7 and 9 of the Law recognize the rights of local communities to use and benefit by occupation, and in accordance with customary norms and practices, if such norms do not contradict the Constitution. Such rights can be proved by testimonial proof presented by the members of the local communities (Article 15), who are also entitled to participate in the management of natural resources, conflict resolution and identifying and defining the boundaries of the community lands (Article 24). It was expected that the rural communities of Mozambique be empowered through this Law; however, the Law exploited the entity identified as local community, the meaning of which bears ambiguities and lack of precedent. Thus, Article 27 of the Law recommends the Parliament to approve additional laws, which specifies the meaning and responsibilities of local community, as well as of the mechanisms for identifying their representatives with respect to the land . One step forward in this direction was the approval of the Ministerial Council (August 2000) of the Decree recognizing the traditional authority.
Top | Contents| IV. Women and Land in Nampula
- Article 7 of the .Decreto-Lei No. 23:229 Ministrio das Colnias da Repblica Portuguesa aprova a Reforma Administrativa Ultramarina. Boletim Oficial da Colnia de Moambique. I Serie-No. 51. Loureno Marques, 28 de Dezembro de 1933. Back
- Ibid. and Esatuto das indgenas portugueses das Provncias da Guin, Angola e Moambique. Decreto-Lei no. 39.666, de 20 de Maio de 1954; and Decreto-Leis Numbers from 43 893 to 43 897. Ministerio do Ultramar. Boletim Oficial de Moambique. I Serie no. 36. Loureno Marques, 14 de Setembro de 1961. Back
- Da Silva Cunha, J.M. 1953. O Sistema Portugues da Poltica Ingena (Subsidio para o seu Estudo). Coimbra Editora Lda, 200-210; Estatuto dos Indigenas, was approved by Decreto-Lei No. 39 666 in 1954, but revoked by Decreto-Lei No. 43 893 and Decreto-Lei No.43 897 in 1961, which recognized legal pluralism with respect to the native populations of the colonies. .Boletim Oficial de Moambique. I Serie No. 36, Loureno Marques, 14 de Stembro de 1961. Back
- Raynal, M. 1997. O Pluralismo Jurdico e Judicirio em frica: do mito africano s relidades moambicanas. In: Revista Jurdica. Maputo: Faculdade de Direito, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Dezembro, Vol. III: 19. Kloeck-Jenson, S. 1997. Analysis of the Parliamentary Debate and New National Land law in Mozambique. Land Tenure Center Project – Mozambique. Maputo: Eduardo Mondlane University, 6. Back
- Casimiro et al. (eds.)1992. Inheritance Law and Practice in Mozambique. Pilot Study, Women and Law in Southern Africa Project. Maputo: Department of Women and Gender Studies. Centro de Estudos Africanos. Eduardo Mondlane University, 4. Back
- Kloeck-Jenson, ibid. Back
- Women and Land in Nampula
It can be said generally that Mozambican rural people live outside the scope of the influence of legal norms. During the prolonged civil law that terminated in 1992, the presence of the State had not been strongly felt in Nampula. The new State laws are inclined to follow the Portuguese example with respect to local traditions and customs. At the same time, as local religious and cultural measures had never been codified, it is impossible to determine to what extent they can be identified as norms and laws and how one can establish and define rights .
According to the local cultural perceptions, nloko and nihimo lands are owned collectively by members of kinship groups and cannot be alienated. Thus, an individual may only hold land on the basis of usufruct, occupy and use it, but he/she cannot own it. In all places where surveys were conducted these perceptions were still quite strong. Article 21 of the New Land Law attempted to maintain this privileged position of cultural perception by stating that rural communities shall manage natural resources and conflict resolution by relying on customary laws and practices. Within the culturally determined land tenure system of Nampula, the nloko or nihimo ensured access to land to all members of the group without gender differentiation. Everyone is allocated land by the head of the greater kinship group through the consultation with the lesser chiefs. This idea was incorporated into the Article 7 of the New Land Law. Besides the kinship lands, there are lands that can be acquired by individual effort through clearance and cultivation of virgin land. These lands though cannot be turned into a self-acquired property, because they are usually under control of certain kinship groups, but they can be inherited by direct descendants or become a bequest by the will of the deceased. Trees are owned individually, irrespective on whose land they were planted. As such, they can be alienated or turned into a bequest. However, by inheriting or buying a tree, a person who is not member of a native kinship group can gain access to its lands. This practice became in Nampula a widespread way of bypassing local cultural perceptions and State laws both prohibiting the sale of land and occupation without prior consultation with the local community (Land Law, Article 9).
Although all the populations of the study sites for this research were matrilineal, womens situation with respect to land varied from place to place and from household to household. Some scholars of Mozambican history assume that the matrilineal system is more favorable to women than the patrilineal one. It is also frequently assumed that the predominant pattern of residence among matrilineal people is uxorilocal. At the same time, feminist scholarship seeks incessantly for the ways local women are being oppressed. Thus, for example, it has been concluded in some studies  that the maternal uncle, atata, controls women the way elder males control them in patriarchal communities. Another idea that became widespread in Mozambique is that Islam and Christianity transformed the matrilineal system into a patrilineal one and introduced patriarchy. However, during fieldwork it became clear that the impact of Christianity or Islam with respect to land is minimal, if it exists at all.
Concerning the process of official titling of land provided by Article 10 of the New Land Law. The system is generally slow in Mozambique, and the number of women is much less than of men. In our study sites, between 1991 and 2000, 6 women and 6 men in Angoche, 1 woman and 3 men from Anchilo and 1 woman and 7 men from Corrane applied for land titling.
In Anchilo, where a Catholic population predominates, the Diocesan Commission for Land is promoting the collective land titling rights of local communities enshrined also in the Article 10, line 4 of the New Land Law. The New Land Law is likewise better known in Anchilo than in other study sites for this research, as the Diocesan Commission for Land took active part in elaborating and campaigning for promulgating this law.
IV.1. Access to Kinship Lands
The first question that had to be addressed with respect to the access of women to kinship lands was whether a woman could become a main heir of the kinship lands. We concluded in the previous chapter, that at least after the 1961 Administrative Reform, women legally could not be a paramount chief, or regulo, recognized by the colonial government. It seems as though a woman could still become a humu within smaller kinship units in a traditional cultural sense of the owner and regulator of those lands, perhaps without holding any specific title.
With regard to this question of female owners, male and female opinions diverged. In Muecate, both genders were inclined to permit this possibility. In Corrane and Anchilo  , both women and men thought that it was impossible. However, oral history of the Umbuechiua kinship group, who claim to be among the first-comers to Anchilo, narrate that mwene and apyamwene performed the initial distribution of the lands together. Although the reasons for this territorial divergence are not clear, the closeness of Anchilo to the provincial capital, Nampula City, and the greater involvement of Corrane in cotton production since colonial times, could probably offer some kind of hypothesis. Also, perhaps the constant battles of the Napita and Mucapera dominant kinship groups against first-comers could shed light on the roots of gender discrimination against women in Corrane. The first-comers, whom eventually were expelled to the neighboring territories, continued to pose a threat for the inhabitants of the Corrane. This threat of attack probably led to militarizing of the men and marginalizing of women.
Particularity true of the Koti in Inguri, is that their kinship lands are situated mostly on the Angoche Islands. Nevertheless, they had control over kinship land and its revenues . According to oral genealogical history, paramount chiefs of the Koti, the inhapakho, were always men. However, within the smaller kinship units, women could become the main heir. One of the interviewed women  in this study maintained that she had inherited land from her maternal uncle who appointed her as a main heir. When the uncle died, first, as a good Muslim, she paid all his debts. She then distributed land among her kin, including the deceased uncles children, and had been overseeing its use since then.
Unless excluded from kinship totally, which is almost an impossible occurrence, anybody can claim a parcel from the lands belonging to kinship at any time of his/her life. The inheritance pattern, with respect to kinship lands, follows matrilineal system. However, it should be taken into consideration that people did not actually inherit this type of land, because it could not be turned into private property or bequest. Kin were merely given a share of land to usufruct by the main heir who controlled the use of the land. 49% of men and 50% of women claimed that they inherited their kinship lands from putative or real maternal uncles (atata); 23% of men and 16% of women from their maternal grandfathers and 15% of men and 16% of women from their mothers. Only 8% of men and 7% of women inherited from their fathers. In Muecate, a pilot study revealed that 26 (59%) of women who inherited lands from their kin overwhelmingly obtained it from their mothers line, and 6 (14%) were using their kinship land from their maternal side and expected to inherit it later. The rest had no access to their kinship lands, either because they were living too far away, or because they had never claimed it. In only two cases, there had been a conflict with other kin due to which people were reluctant to claim their share of land.
Although people living within their own communities had a relative facility to access and use their kinship lands, some outsiders, including those married to local people, also had access to the land of their ancestors in other regions, or at least some kind of control over its revenues. For example, none of the Koti in the Inguri sample actually lived within the kinship territory, because the lineage land of the Koti people is situated on the Angoche Islands. Nevertheless, they had access to it and everybody could indicate where their individual share was located on those Islands. However, due to the scarcity of the land for farming, a share of land was frequently expressed in coconut tree numbers from which the Inguri Koti received relatively regular revenue.
Theoretically, nobody could be denied access to kinship lands based on gender differences. The question is, however, whether or not it could happen in practice. In Inguri, all the Koti and non-Koti respondents had access to their kinship lands independently of the gender variable. Only one foreign husband, originally from the Mozambique Island, did not have access due to the distance. Similar situation prevailed in Anchilo, where only three women had no access to their kinship lands.
Conversely, in Corrane, both males and females underscored that the inheritance preference usually would go to male members of the kinship to the detriment of female ones. Two interviewed local regulos  stated: our culture always despised women, a woman cannot stand in front of a man or be equal to him. In the Corrane sample, a total of 18 (36%) women out of 50 had no access to their kinship lands. In the Muecate pilot study, 59% of women inherited lands from their maternal line, while 14% were using those lands, but have not yet inherited them. Of two non-local widows, only one had access to her deceased husbands kinship land.
IV.2. Access to Self-Acquired Lands
The interviewed indicated that people acquired lands by clearing virgin lands or forests. One motive for self aquiring lands was to secure the future of children by leaving them land that is independent of kinship. Another motive is to increase the land for family subsistence. An additional reason was to cultivate cash crops that generate income that remain either under the control of an individual or his immediate family, yet beyond the reach of the extended kin. Finally and most importantly, acquiring land by clearing is the usual way outsiders access lands for local farming. It is possible to ask for land, or to be given parcels from State-owned lands, (the State mainly owns private property of the previous colonizers), but it is relatively rare. In our sample, only one woman and one man acquired lands in this manner. Thus, the most common way of acquiring lands were through cultural means. Anybody who wished to acquire independent lands must first certify its availability with the local mwene. This mwene would become a witness in case a conflict arises later. The newly acquired land then has to be cleared and worked. In order to enable the direct descendants of the new landowner to access this land after his death, an agreement would have to be reached with the mwene. If such an agreement is not reached, then the self-acquired land could still become a disputed matter between direct descendants and local clans, or if the land is located within the limits of the greater nloko, between maternal relatives and heirs indicated by the deceased beneficiaries.
Women in Corrane, Muecate and Anchilo revealed in focus group discussion, that because of their limited labor and monetary resources and an absence of machinery, they feel unable to self-acquire lands through clearing. This is done mainly by their husbands, whom they join in working the field after clearing. However, women who were able to barter for labor with basic necessity items such as soap, oil, second-hand cloth, and small amounts of cash, could hire people for clearing the field for them. This is particularly noticeable among the Koti women, who as well as being good saleswomen, traditionally exchange fish for labor on the mainland. Self-acquired lands of the Koti consist of the lands of Inguri itself and lands that were acquired through negotiations with local people of the mainland. Immigrants to the mainland, the Koti cannot claim it as their lineage lands. In Inguri, although some Koti established themselves before the Portuguese arrived, it was the Portuguese who delineated and distributed these lands to the Koti. Thes land is divided into small plots in which the residences of the Koti are constructed. Previously considered State lands, these lands are being gradually turned into real estate, which can be inherited by any male or female descendant of the owner, as well as become a bequest . In Inguri, only three respondents had their farming plots nearby their residences within the borders of the city.
As the Angoche Islands are difficult to access on a daily basis, and the land is scarce there anyway, the Koti of Inguri farm in the surrounding Angoche City regions of the mainland. It takes them an average of between one hour and thirty minutes and six hours to reach their farmlands. In order to gain access to these lands, the Koti have to establish a good rapport as well as mutually beneficial agreements with the local population of these regions . The best way to access the land of the locals is by establishing kinship through marriage, which Koti have succeeded in doing. Though the lands are rented for a pre-determined period of time, usually a year. Each year the terms of agreement are reconsidered, and the Koti have to pay an established amount of money per year. The Koti also request local mwene for virgin lands, which they clear and often attempt to turn into self-acquired property. Another ways for the Koti to access the land in this region is through buying trees of the individuals, followed by full appropriation of the land where the trees stand. All of these manners of acquiring land by the Koti are illegal in terms of the New Land Law (Article 13), and also culturally abhorrent. But appropriating lands in the mainland is the only way for the Inguri Koti to guarantee the land for their families. Women play an active part in this process, although the male relatives would execute actual payment and accord with local inhabitants. Out of a total of 47 Inguri respondents using lands in the mainland, 10 (21.3%) claimed that they bought these lands, of which 6 (60%) were women and 4 (40%) were men.
In Corrane, most of the interviewed native people indicated that they cleared land primarily for cotton production to obtain cash. No local married woman claimed that she cleared or bought land on her own. Among local couples, one maintained that both husband and wife participated in clearing a virgin land that was consequently used for cotton production. Another local had been using her husbands inherited kinship land for family subsistence, but her husband had cleared an additional parcel of land for cotton. Two unmarried local women, one widow and one divorced, were deprived of the access to their lineage lands or to their former husbands lands, so they were forced to clear lands in order to survive. Among the non-native residents of Corrane, one man and one woman married to locals maintained that they bought lands from locals by purchasing (cashew) trees with posterior appropriation of the land.
In Anchilo, the most attractive means for acquiring cash was by purchasing cashew trees and producing peanuts in self-acquired lands. Here, as well, the purchase of the trees was often followed by attempts to appropriate the land under them. In two local couples, wives and husbands claimed that they bought cashew nut trees jointly, while two other local couples indicated that the wives and husbands jointly cleared virgin land to produce peanuts for cash, in addition to household farmland originated through kinship. One local husband maintained that he cleared virgin lands for himself in order to grow peanuts. One married non-local woman claimed that she bought the land from the natives and was growing peanuts for cash. Among married women in Anchilo there were no cases of buying or clearing lands on their own.
- 3. Access to Rented Lands
According to local culture in Nampula, both men and women have the possibility of either renting land, or sharecropping with the owner. Sharecropping is the usual way in which people with no native rights, who are not originally local, can gain access to land. There are many different types of contracts in use between foreigners and locals, but monetary compensation is still rare for land use, except for Koti of Inguri.
Newcomers are forbidden to plant trees in general, but in particular coconut, cashew and fruit trees. The reason for that, as it was mentioned earlier, is that trees are owned individually, so if trees have been planted by strangers, they would become a private property that do not belong within the kinship who own the land. As it was also aforementioned, planting or buying a tree is frequently used as a vehicle for the appropriation of the land under it. Tree related land disputes are particularly acute in Anchilo and Corrane, where, during the focus group discussion, local women revealed that most of the newcomers are disputing for land with cashew nut trees already planted on it.
It was also previously pointed out that the principal way of gaining access to local mainland for the Koti of Inguri is by renting. According to individual agreements, each Koti would pay an established sum to the local family or mwene for renting a plot. The agreement is annual, and the Koti frequently change lands, if a dispute or other inconvenience arises. Also, local inhabitants take advantageous of the Koti by renting them virgin lands, which after being cleared and used, is offered the following year to another person for a higher sum. The competitions for lands between the Koti themselves are as fierce as between the Koti and the locals. In this shade, 47 (94%) respondents out of a total 50 in Inguri had been renting lands from surrounding Angoche City regions. In 81% of cases, women rented lands and only in 8% men did the rent. Four couples indicated that wives and husbands rented jointly.
Conversely, in Corrane women rarely rented lands by themselves. Women also avoided participating in cotton production, to the desperation of the cotton companies and agricultural and women-oriented NGOs . Womens main responsibility is culturally defined in Corrane as primarily farming for household subsistence. Thus, they could not spare time for participating in demanding cotton production. The land under cotton production is mostly cleared and prepared by the cotton companies themselves. The companies also provide pesticides and machinery. However, the cost of all this assistance is discounted from the final products price that farmers sell back to the companies. Often, farmers do not make money at all, and even become indebted. In addition, cotton prices decreased significantly in the last few years, so that not only the women, but also the men are steadily losing interest in it. Nevertheless, there was one widow in Corrane that was considered among the leaders of cotton production, and who was making a considerable amount of cash per year according to local standards.
On the other hand, making cash for family survival is culturally perceived to be the husbands responsibility. Nevertheless, most of the wives and husbands claimed that they jointly rented lands for cash crops. These were often lands additional to their kinship lands reserved for family subsistence. A total of five such local households (out of 22 married households) were found in our sample to rent separate plots of land. Ten couples, consisting of local wives and foreign husbands, were also jointly renting lands, independent of whether the wife had access to kinship lands or not. Only two husbands were renting land in their own names, while their wives had no access to lands in Corrane. No married woman was renting land only in her own name, but two widows and one divorced woman rented land for cash crops, specifically cashew nuts. These women, though, technically rented trees rather than land. There were two non-local couples, of which the wives (a teacher and a nurse) were assigned by the State to work in Corrane. Although their non-native husbands were accompanying them, it was wives duty to find lands for renting and negotiate these with the local population.
Urban people from the nearby provincial capital, Nampula City, frequently seek to rent lands in Anchilo. Paid by waged labor and having access to cheap goods, urban Nampula women frequently manage to strike good deals with the local population. There is also a significant presence of Maconde people, who remained in Anchilo after the independence war, though many of them are widows or divorced women. Judging from interviews and general observation, these Maconde women also are renting lands successfully.
Out of 36 surveyed married households, 17 were comprised of local spouses on both sides. In six of these local couples, husbands and wives rented land jointly. In six other households where one of the spouses was non-native, husbands and their local wives were also renting land jointly. Two non-local widows and two non-local divorced women rented lands on their own. Most of these rented lands were being used for family subsistence. However, Anchilo people highly value cashew nut trees, and sought to buy them whenever they could. In some cases, they claimed that they rented trees rather than land. In other cases, they bought trees, but appropriated the land. The Nampula urban population also used this strategy in accessing lands.
IV.4. Use, Management and Disposal of Land
Article 9 (A & B) of the New Land Law provides individual persons with the right of land use and benefit, in accordance with customary norms and practices, or if a person has been using the land for at least ten years in good faith. However, in accordance with customary norms, kinship land use rights are not transferable either to or from spouses or to their children, which is also against the provisions of the Article 13 of the New Land Law which states that the right to land and benefit may be transferred by succession, without distinction by sex. Generally, it is culturally perceived that the lineage land where a couple resides or farm for household subsistence, whether it comes from husband or wifes side, is the domain of the wife. Thus, the married womans right to use this land is safeguarded. However, the destiny of this land upon widowhood or divorce depends on residence patterns of the couple. Although all the people of this study where matrilineal, resident patterns showed a great diversity. If a marriage was uxorilocal, upon divorce or widower the man lost his right to use household land, while womans rights remain unchallenged. When the residence was virilocal, upon widowhood or divorce, a woman frequently lost this right.
Out of a total of 104 married households, 34% were residing uxorilocally, 45% virilocally, and 21% lived on independent lands. The majority of the virilocal residence patterns were registered in Inguri (67%) and in Anchilo (47%). In the Muecate pilot study, 8 (29%) out of the total 44 households resided virilocally and 3 (10%) on independent lands, which belong neither to the husband or the wifes side of the family. The rest of the residences (61%) were uxorilocal. Muecate women, even very young ones, could always have access to the lineage lands, and being married in order to start using it was not a requirement.
If a woman was a local native, and if she moved back in with her own kin after divorce or widowhood, she could opt to request a parcel of land from the kinship lands. However, if she was not local and was either not willing or too elderly to move back, she was frequently denied the access to lands of her former husband by his extended kin. This was also true even for those women who were born and raised locally, but their mothers were not local. As the land belonged to her fathers extended maternal kin, she must then seek land on her mothers side, where she frequently would not know anybody. In these instances, while men manage to negotiate their access to land with other men, women often suffer stigmatization and denial. Article 10 determines that individual persons, men and women, who are members of a local community may request an individual title upon partition of the particular land parcel from the area of the community. However, the definition of who is the member of the local community may be understood differently by the local community and by the lawmaker. Although even newcomers can access the land locally through self-clearing or renting, upon widowhood or divorce this land might become a matter of dispute. While an immigrant from another community who was married to a local man can be considered a member of the local community, for the local community, he/she will continue to be a stranger with respect to land rights, even after a long period of time.
To illustrate this, three examples from Muecate are given below, but this situation is quite common among all the communities of Nampula Province. In Muecate, three immigrant women, two elderly widows and one married were interviewed. All of them had lineage lands in their place of birth, but lost access to it and contact with their relatives due to war and long distances. Widows, although living in this community for over thirty or forty years, were left without any land from their husbands, because the family of the deceased appropriated it. Having no other means for survival and being elderly, they had to beg for land from locals. Both managed to rent small parcels of land and were extremely poor. The third woman, married, was born and raised in Muecate, thus she was practically a community member from her early infancy. After the death of her father who was from Muecate, his land was taken away by his maternal family, while her mother, who was an immigrant, could not leave to her any land.
With respect to self-acquired land, often a married woman uses it land together with her husband, independent of whether the land was cleared by the husband or by the request and effort of the wife. Moreover, she routinely took as active of a part as her husband in the clearing of virgin land and worked on this land at the same level as her husband. However, upon divorce, the husband frequently continued using this land while the wife loses the access, and upon widowhood, the woman often loses this right in favor of the deceased husbands matrilineal family.
As it was stated before, the access of the Koti to their kinship lands on the Angoche Islands did not differ according to a gender variable. The lands in the interior have been rented mostly by women. Therefore, even though the majority resided virilocally, this did not alter womens situation with regard to the use of land, even after a divorce or through widowhood. A cultural peculiarity of the Koti in Inguri is that agriculture is the responsibility of a woman, while a man should be involved in cash activities not related to land. This means that negotiating the renting of land and controlling family subsistence agriculture was in the hands of a wife. But the lands were considered common to the couple in 78% of the cases, and household rented lands were not divided into a husbands or a wifes part.
In principle, anybody, be it woman or man, can rent his kinship land to a third party. But, the mwene and other extended kin should be consulted. According to the interviewed, the Koti woman, like the Koti man, was entitled to rent her own parcel of a lineage land on the Islands to somebody, but she needed to communicate this first with other kin. In particular, her maternal uncle was required to be consulted and eye witness the transaction so in the case of her death a renting person could not appropriate it. Of the respondents, 63% maintained that the decision about renting a kinship parcel rested with woman herself, and 38% claimed that she needed to consult her extended kin. When the land was bought, as some Koti claim, the disposal of this land rested with the one in the name of whom it was bought, be it man or woman. This included the dowery (mahari), which was mostly given in money, but previously could also be conveyed in land and trees, particularly in the Koti Islands. Of Inguri women, 24% considered land or trees could be given to a woman as mahari, and 72% answered that it cannot be given as mahari. Also, 82% of women in Inguri responded that the mahari belonged to a woman alone, while 14% said that it belonged to the womans extended kin. Only one woman believed that it belonged to husband. This situation denotes that although the influence of Islam was significant here, the Koti cultural perceptions in practice took an upper hand. Of Inguri women, 38% owned their own trees, including coconut, cashew nut, and fruit trees. To the majority (21%) of the married respondents, these trees belonged to the wife alone, while 15% were willing to share them with their husbands. Only 6% considered them to be under their husbands control. Women alone could decide on the sale of these trees accordingly, but 26% of wives would at least show the resulting money to her husband.
In Anchilo, 37 women respondents had their own inherited lands. Of these, 33 of them indicated that they could not dispose of these lands freely without the consulting with the mwene or extended kin. The trees were owned privately, and could be freely disposed of individually. However, the majority preferred not to sell trees but rather keep them as a kind of deposit for childrens security. One of the particularities of Anchilo is that trees frequently were inherited from other kin, together with the land. The value attributed to cashew trees by the local population here was difficult to underestimate. Twenty-one women had their own trees, of which only seven considered a possibility of selling them. On such a sale, 10 women opted to consult with extended kin, while 10 other women indicated that the trees present means for their childrens security and cannot be sold at all.
In Anchilo, out of the total 36 married couples in the sample, 11 (30%) were residing uxorilocally, 16 (47%) patrilocally, 8 (19%) were living on independent lands, and one couple was alternately residing between the wife’s and husband’s sides. Eight (16%) respondents were widows and 6 (12%) were divorced women, among whom two foreign, one was divorced, and another was a widow, yet none had access to or control of their own lineage lands in other regions. Thirty-seven women had their own inherited kinship lands. Thirty-three of them responded that they could not dispose freely of their land, and only 3 felt free to dispose it as they wished. One woman said she would not consult anybody, three would consult their maternal uncle, and one said she would consult a maternal grandfather. Two women indicated regulo and the rest indicated their extended family members as a whole.
In Anchilo, as elsewhere, a married couple tended to have access and benefit from land jointly, independent of whether it was from the womans side or the mans side, or was rented or self-acquired by one of the spouses. Only 9 (25%) couples indicated that the household land was comprised of two parts, one belonging to the husband and the other to the wife. Of these nine, in eight households both spouses were local and inherited from their lineage lands. In 6 of the 9 cases, the cash crops were grown on both sides, while in two cases, crops were grown only on the wife’s side. One non-native wife claimed that she bought the land locally while her local husband inherited from lineage; cash crops grew on both sides. However, upon divorce or widowhood, the woman would lose the right to use the cleared and thus self-acquired land that the couple previously used jointly, to either her former husband or to his maternal kin. Among the six divorced women interviewed, none had access to their former husbands land, while among the eight widows, only one was still using her husbands land, but only through his previous consent.
Three such cases were brought to our attention during focus group discussions with local women . In the first case, a woman, who together with her husband, cleared the land specifically to grow cashew trees in order to leave them to his children. Unfortunately, he died early, at which time his maternal nephew came and occupied the land, and barred the widows access to it. Despite her repeated efforts to recover the land through local mwene and her own uncle, she did not succeed. In the second case, a husband had taken a second wife without the knowledge of the first one. This was followed by the conflict between the spouses, and the first wife was expelled from the couples residence. The first wifes brother and herself presented the case at the police and at the Community Court, but this resulted in nothing. The husband barred his former wife from the access to land, residence and even, children. It is frequent in Anchilo that widows marry their deceased husbands brother in order to stay within his kin and safeguard access to land and possessions belonging to the household. The third case reflected such a situation where a widow married a deceased husbands brother. The new husband moved into her house. After a full year of cohabitation, during which he did not assist the widow or her offspring in any way, the new husband left for Nampula City. To her dismay, the widow found herself homeless, because the new husband had sold it without her knowledge. At the same time, the maternal kin of the deceased first husband began to occupy the lands he previously cleared and acquired. This widow also presented her case to the police and with regulo, but nothing had been done so far. She is now living with her mother.
In Corrane, the decision-making about kinship lands rested with male relatives, and a womens opinion would only be considered when she was divorced or widow without means for survival other than through the land in question. All women respondents using lineage lands indicated that they could not freely dispose of it. The cultural perceptions related to the trees were similar to that in Anchilo; people tended to increase the number of trees and took advantage of any opportunities to buy or plant whenever they could. Eighteen women among our respondents had their own trees, of which 17 owned cashew trees and one, a coconut tree. Twelve women said that they would decide about the sale of the trees themselves, 2 would consult their husbands, and 4 would speak with their maternal uncles.
In Corrane, out of the total sample of 35 married couples, 12 (34%) resided virilocally, 13 (37%) uxorilocally, and 10 (29%) of the couples were residing on independent land. These lands could be rented, if the couple was not local, or if one of the local spouses (usually a wife) was denied access to his/her kinship lands. Because of the cultural patriarchal attitudes towards women in Corrane, men also opted for residence on the independent lands, in order to safeguard the subsistence of children or the wife against the extended kin in case of their own death. The extended kinship in Corrane appears to be quite aggressive with respect to widows and divorcees. Usually, if the divorce or death of the husband occurred in the middle of the agricultural year, the family or husband should wait until the crop is harvested. Then, the produce is divided either between the divorcing spouses, or between the widow and husbands kin. In practice this occurred rarely. In focus group discussions, both men and women revealed that if a widow insisted on dividing couples belongings or produce despite the unwillingness of the deceaseds kin, then it was concluded that she killed her husband by witchcraft for the purpose of owning these things.
In Corrane, as it was noted before, the majority of the couples rented or cleared lands jointly. Only two men did this in their own names only. Out of a total of 35 interviewed couples, 4 had land comprised of two halves, one belonging to the husband and another to the wife. In 3 cases both the local spouse inherited land, of which in 1 case both lineage lands were reserved for family subsistence, while the third land that was rented jointly was being used for cash crops, such as cotton and rice. In the second couple, the cash crops were cultivated on the husband’s side, and the wife’s land was reserved for subsistence. In the third case, both inherited lands were used for cash crops. In one case a foreign husband rented land for rice cropping in addition to his local wife’s inherited lineage land. Thus, it can be concluded that the general tendency of cooperation between the spouses and consideration for the well-being of the family members predominated. This changed upon divorce or widowhood when the extended kin came into the picture. Among seven widows in our sample in Corrane, only one was still using the land of her deceased husband. Among eight divorced women, also only one was using her former husband’s land. In one case involving a rejected first wife, her husband and his second wife were interviewed in Corrane . The first wife was originally from Lichinga in Nyassa. Her local husband took a second wife and expelled the first one from the couples residence. Although the conflict took place in the middle of the agricultural year, the husband refused to wait until the harvesting and divide the crops with the first wife. The two wives also got involved in battering each other. Intervention of the family members in the case did not result in changing the situation. The case was pending with the police, however, the husband was actively promoting the idea that the first wife was a witch and adulteress.
Top | Contents| V. Access to and Control over Benefits
- Ranger, T. 1983. The Invention of Tradition in Colonial Africa. In: Hobsbawm, E. & Ranger, T. (eds.) The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 211-262. Back
- Casimiro et al Back
- Ibid. Back
- Interviews with Sister Maria de Jesus and Manuel Amos, head of the Provincial Land Cadastre Back
- Interview regulo Rainha, Afono Chicoche and focus group discussions Back
- Interviews with regulo Napita, Andr Trato and regulo Mukapera, Fernando Abel; and focus group discussions with men and women separately, and in mixed groups. Back
- Interview with regulo Unbeshuia Back
49.Interview with Hasan Bashir, the current inhapakho of the Angoche Islands Back
- Interview with Sayyid Khaled Nacapa, a healer Back
- Interview with Chamsi Ossufo, influential Sufi woman. Back
- Interviews with regulo Napita, Andr Trato and regulo Mukapera, Fernando Abel. Back
- Interview with shaykh Mamade Abdallah, in Inguri. Back
- Interviews with Amarale Muhilole, regulo Mipaco and Aiyuba Demeia, regulo Mutulema of the Namaponda Sede Back
- Interviews with Jos Parrinha- Association Sattar-Agrico, Paulo Nantombe – technical assistant for SODAN, Arlindo Suanheia-technical assistant for Yussuf Nurmamade Association, and Artur Baltazar – supervisor for the Clusa Association. Back
- Focus group discussions with local women; and interviews with Filomena Joao Vieira, Clara Pires Beja and Flora Amede. Back
- All sides involved in the conflict had been interviewed: Fatima Jose, first wife, Armando Miguel, Huband, and Laurinda Artur, second wife Back
- Access to and Control over Benefits
This Chapter focuses on gendered perceptions of the control over benefits and decision-making at the household levels, by concentrating on access and control over land and household benefits. The land benefits are crops and cash from the sale of crops. Household benefits will result from land benefits and additional work on the household level such as producing traditional beverages, weaving and embroidery for sale, etc. Among the Koti, in contrast to the Makua from other surveyed regions, the influence of Islam for shaping benefits perceptions is considerable.
In all study sites, while establishing wealth ranking within local communities, women and men maintained that most rich people were men and the most poor were women, in particular, elderly widows with no native rights to land. Wealthy men were those who had access to cash, particularly, the owners of the bars, clubs, shops and other enterprises. This group in Corrane also included successful male members of agricultural associations working on cotton production fields. Overall, women were less wealthy than men.
- 1. Control over Benefits: Household Decision-Making
A woman has certain autonomy over the benefits resulting from her own economic activities, while the couple controls jointly benefits resulting from the couples land. On divorce, when the residence is virilocal, a wife often loses her right to the couples lineage land, family belongings (such as house and domestic utensils), as well as she can be deprived of her share of harvest by her husband and on widowhood by the matrilineal family of the deceased. The control over household food was mostly in the hands of a woman, because she also controlled lands for household subsistence. In the Muecate pilot study it was revealed that the wife controlled food in 84% of the cases, while 8% responded that husbands controlled it. In Corrane, 100% of women and 97% of men responded that woman controlled the food in the household, while 3% of men considered that both wife and husband controlled it. In Anchilo, 78% of wives and 87.5% of the husbands revealed that the wife controlled the food. None of the respondents thought that the husbands controlled food on the household level, while 22% of wives and 13% of husbands considered they were controlling food together. Among the Koti of Inguri, 68% respondents answered that the food is controlled by the wife, 8% by husband, and 6% by the couple jointly.
The case of the Koti in Inguri differed from the rest of the surveyed, because they were culturally closer to Swahili than to Macua in perceptions related to family relations between husband and wife. Among the Koti interviewed ., marriages follow classical Islamic laws of the Shafi madhhab (school of law). This meant that it was the husbands obligation to provide for his wife or wives and children, while the obligation of the wife was to be obedient to him. In practice, women continued to be responsible for the family food production, while husbands had to arrange ways of earning cash. Discursively, the Koti man controlled benefits from his land and his own economic activities, but the resulting benefits should be spent to accomplish his religious duty of providing for his wives and children. According to the members of the Brazanji female qasida singing group, it is their husbands prerogative to decide about the sale of, for example, rice crops, and he is the one who keeps the money. However, according to the survey results, 46 % responded that the wife decides about the sale, 36% that the husband, 14% the couple jointly, and 4% other people. A woman controlled her own land and her own economic activities and resulting cash and purchases. Forty-three percent of respondents answered that benefits from her own land belonged to woman herself, 25% that it belongs to her husband, 18% to the couple jointly, and 14% to other family members.
Control over the cash within the family varied according to the respondents gender. Culturally, cash should be provided and controlled by the husband, so it is perceived to be humiliating for a man not to be able to provide cash for his family. While men are welcome to produce cash crops and take waged labor, women are expected to take care of the household members and their alimentation. It is not culturally repugnant for a man to embroider and sew, even for womens clothing. However, it is perceived to be shameful when a man sells produce from the farm that is allocated for family subsistence, which is controlled by the wife. Even if there is a surplus left from family farming, it is desirable to be sold by either the woman herself or by junior members of the family or kin, mainly children and teens. Only when the household lands size is significant and surplus is considerable, that the man could get respectably involved in it. As it is generally understood that cash crop production is a male domain, while subsistence farming is a female domain, there are also some kinds of produce selling which are considered to be shameful for men. These cultural trends are of course, being eroded with economic transformations, modernization and literacy, etc. In Inguri, 27% of the respondents indicated that there were products that should be sold only by women, while in Anchilo 29% of women and 7% of men, and 34% of women and 32% of men in Corrane considered it to be shameful and inadequate for a man to sell products in small scale or obtained from family subsistence farms.
The money brought by a husband into the family was expected to be mostly controlled by the wife, unless there were some major purchases to be made, in which case it was decided by the husband or together by the couple. Husbands had higher literacy and interactions with modernization and development projects, and derived from them products and services. Wives were far too busy with the family farming and care of its members. With this respect the answer also varied among the regions. In Muecate, 40% of wives said that they themselves controlled money and 52% indicated the husband did. Only in 8% of the cases a couple controlled money together. In Corrane, 54% of wives and 57% of husbands indicated that the wives controlled the money. Fifteen percent of wives and 9% of the husbands indicated that they controlled money together. In Anchilo, 72% of wives and 58% of husbands indicated that wives controlled money in the family, while 14% of wives and 29% of husbands said that the husband controlled it. Fourteen percent of wives and 13% of husbands considered that they were controlling money together.
The decision making of the purchases and spending money within the household was also culturally perceived to be the domain of wife, except for major and important purchases and expenditures. In Muecate, in 52% of the cases, the husband made that decision alone and in 40% by wife alone, while in 8% it was made jointly. An actual purchase was performed by the husband alone in 24% of the cases, in 40% by wife alone, and in 24% of the cases it was made jointly. In Inguri, 60 % of couples made decisions jointly while in 31% of couples, the husband did it alone. In Anchilo, 71% of husbands and 58% of wives indicated that the wives made this decision alone, while 22% of wives and 17% of husbands indicated the husband did it alone. The rest indicated the decision was made jointly.
Top | Contents| VI. Dispute Settling
- Focus group discussions with the members of the Brazanji female qasida singing group, and interviews with several female and male religious dignitaries Back
- Dispute Settling
In Mozambique there are formal and informal ways of dispute settling. The formal institutions were Judicial Courts and Community Courts, while the informal ways of dispute settling were endorsed by the Article 21b of the New Land Law that requires participation of local communities in the resolution of conflict by relying upon customary norms and practices. As it was stated before, rural Mozambique generally operates outside the scope of formal norms and legal institutions.
The mwene is expected to look after the land, regulate its use and settle disputes related primarily to land  . This is equally true with respect to the institution of apyamwene, whose functions are to mediate between human and spiritual life and oversee the fertility of the land and of its people. According to oral narratives, the land had been divided between lineages and clans from the ancient times. Each mwene knows land limits and borders of the clan and the family to whom the lands were allocated. Inside of the families, each one has to delineate its own land and each can construct and use the land as they agree. The new 1997 Land Law acknowledged the privileged role of a traditional authority in solving land disputes. The involvement of the Judicial Courts in resolving land disputes in our study sites was minimal. In each of the sites, judges and other officials of the Judicial Courts were interviewed, and the Court report was looked into. In comparison to Judicial Courts, the impact of the Community Courts was more significant. However, the majority of the cases were resolved by the effort of local communities and community leaders, and went unregistered.
In all the study sites there were courts of two levels: District Judicial Court and Community Court. The Community Court of Angoche City is comprised of five elected judges, including one woman. They were elected in 1985 by the popular assembly, and since then never have been re-elected, neither they had an established mandate. Annually they receive around 150 cases. There had never existed any court in Angoche Koti Islands before 1999 when the Juridic Commission was established there. The Islanders, according to the City Central Community Court judges, never bring their cases to the court rather; instead, they resolve their problems among themselves. If the cases involve significant amounts of money or grave crimes, they are taken to the Community Court in Aube. Otherwise, the Secretary of the Grupo de Dinamisadores (Dynamizing Groups) had to intervene. But the inhapakhos are still very influential in solving disputes.
In Corrane  before 1994, there were no Community Courts. Between 1982 to 1986, the Department of the Social Affairs of the Communal Village was responsible for settling disputes, which continued to function until 1994, when the Community Courts were organized. There are currently five Community Courts in the Posto Administrativo of Corrane. In the Community Court of the Posto itself there are five judges, including one woman. They were elected at the general meeting of the local dignitaries, and are traditional or government officials.
Anchilo Community Court is comprised of five elected judges, including two women. All male judges were elected in general assembly, while the female judges were elected by the Community Court in Rapale, which is the District central court. Women are expected to deal mainly with the cases involving women, and in particular they have to analyze the injuries on the bodies of female victims and verify women’s evidence by visiting their places and families.
There are eight Community Courts in the Muecate District, one in the Posto Adminstrativo itself . There are up to six judges elected by the local population and usually one young literate man as a scribe in each of the Community Courts.
None of the members of the Community Courts have ever received any salary or monetary support from the State, thus they are primarily farmers. The revenues from the cases are deposited in the bank account of the Public Administration Section.
Fifty eight percent of the respondents indicated that official power structures (government and administration) had authority within their communities, while for 37% the authority was with the traditional authority. In Inguri, for 3% of the respondents the authority rested with the shaykhs. Fifty six percent indicated the government structures are responsible for land and related disputes, while 37% indicated traditional authority are responsible. In Inguri, 4% believed that this responsibility rested with shaykhs.
VI.1. Land Disputes
Land is relatively abundant in Nampula, so disputes are relatively rare. Land disputes in the research sites involved conflicts between lineage and family members, between individuals and the local community, and between community and private enterprises. We could not find any cases involving women in this study. Most of the cases were solved by local communities and were not registered.
The only known case at Corrane Community Courts, although unregistered, involved Agosto Vicente and one of the judges of this Court. The judge had lent a parcel of his family land to Agosto Vicente, but he later claimed the land to be his own. The case was taken to District Judicial Court. The Judicial Court in its turn presented the case before the members of the District Agricultural and Community Development Unit, who went to consult with the local community and learned that the judge’s claim was correct. After much consultation with both parties involved in the dispute, the land was divided between them, but Agosto Vicente accepted that he was only borrowing land for agriculture from the judge, whose family was the true owner.
In Inguri, within urban areas, land disputes emerged between neighbors about the limits of each others land. But as land was delineated by the State, it was relatively easy to solve the conflict after consulting the appropriate documentation. Land conflicts are frequent between the Koti and the owners of land in the interior . The most cited reasons are that local inhabitants give the Koti virgin or abandoned lands for agriculture. After the Koti cleared it and cultivated on it for up to three years, the owners would rent it to someone else for a higher price. On the other hand, there were cases when the Koti of Angoche occupied the land of local communities. Between 1997 and 2000 there were 5 to 6 cases related to these kinds of conflicts .
In the Angoche Community Court there was only one registered case involving the inhabitant of the Inguri land and a local person from the Munari zone, Mario Ossufo Joo Vs Augusto Joo, May/2000. Augusto Joo occupied the land that, according to him, was vacant. Later, Mario Ossufo appeared with claims that the land belonged to his ancestors. After several failed attempts to settle the dispute by the efforts of the local community, the case was transferred to the City Community Court. Mwene and elders of the local community were called to give oral evidence following the provisions of Article 12B of the New Land Law. The dispute was settled in favor of Mario Ossufo. However, Augusto Joo was compensated for his labor of clearing and working the land.
In the Angoche District Judicial Court there was also only one registered case, Agostinho Assane Vs Momade Assane Nhauela, 1995. Both parties involved were inhabitants of Inguri and were disputing the land in the interior Boila region. In 1991, Agostinho Assane solicited a Governor of the Province to use land with cashew trees on it. This had been authorized in 1995. However, on the land there were also coconut trees belonging to a third party, namely Omar Chale who sold those trees to Momade Assane. Agostinho Assane attemted to negotiate with Momade Assane in order to buy coconut trees, but failed. Although, the owner of the land where the cashew trees stood was Agostinho Assane, Momade Assane also collected his coconuts on the same land. In Agsotinhos understanding, Momade was infringing his property rights. After failed negotiations with Momade, Agostinho presented the case at the Judicial Court. The verdict was that because Agostinho was authorized by the State to occupy the land, Momade should accept the payment for his coconut trees from Agostinho and withdraw from the land. From this case, it is evident that the State violated both customary and State law, in favoring Agostinho. It is possible that Agostinho had bribed officials or belonged to some important family of a State official.
Sister Maria do Jesus from the Anchilo Catechetic Center describes that there were several land disputes involving local population and enterprises, due to the occupation of the land abandoned by the owners during the civil war. When the owners came back, the dispute emerged. But all these conflicts were successfully solved due to the intervention of local traditional authority, the Agriculture Sector and the Diocesan Commission for Land.
There was only one case that was taken to the police in Anchilo. A person bought cashew trees from a local inhabitant. But, after buying the trees, this person also started using also the land where the trees were planted. The kinship group with native rights to use this land opposed. The case was solved by oral evidence given by the local mwene, which favored the members of the local lineage. The person who sold the trees had to pay back the money to the buyer.
According to Pedro Antonio Sacuro, head for the agriculture in Anchilo, there are more conflicts involving individuals, rather than between individuals and enterprises. These disputes are related to the limits of individual fields. In these cases when the agriculture officials are called to intervene, they would demarcate together with local mwene the limits of the land of each individual. It seems that these kinds of disputes are new and rare in rural Nampula, because land is relatively plentiful. But the Catholic Diocesan Committee with its center in Anchilo, became so much involved in the elaboration and promotion of the New Land Law that they appear to be anxious to delineate community and individual land limits. This anxiety is due to the perceived threat from large private companies that envision occupying lands, apparently illegally or by force. So far, we have noticed this preoccupation only in Anchilo. In fact there were some disputes involving individual or collective household fields and private entrepreneurs. One such case between locals and Filipe Muianga was still pending due to his unwillingness to appear before the court.
VI.2. Family Disputes: Importance and Accessibility of Institutions to Women During focus group discussions with local women in Anchilo and Corrane, the importance of social institutions such as schools and hospitals surpassed the importance of formal and informal justice institutions. This, of course, is due to the prevailing poverty and malfunction of these institutions locally. Apart from this, schools and hospitals also were less accessible to women, because most women did not have cash to pay for their services as well as for buying medicine and school materials. The healer was understood to be more important and accessible to women than the hospital.
As it was aforementioned, the land disputes involving women were not apparent in any of the places where this survey was done. Thus, the relevance of the traditional authority comprised of local mwene appeared to be less important for women. Women did not trust the police and Community Courts, because they were thought to be openly corrupt. Between these two institutions the Community Court was considered more corrupt, which is understandable, as their members do not receive any wages. Especially in Anchilo and Corrane, local womens preference went to the police because they had weapons and prisons and could scare the men and their maternal families (sanction measures). In the understanding of local women, the fact that there were women incorporated in the institutions such as Community Courts and the police did not change the overall disadvantageous position of the female population with respect to their rights.
Women also responded that the religious institutions did not care about women at all, particularly in settling disputes involving widows and divorcees versus their former husbands and extended kin. In Anchilo, predominantly Catholic women harshly criticized local representatives of the Catholic Church. However, here a Catholic community comprised of ordinary local women, rather than institutionalized religion, provided networks of solidarity and support for women.
In Inguri among the Koti, Islam and Swahili cultures determined the relations between private domestic space and public domain of religious institutions. It is culturally objectionable for a woman to bring private family matters into the public realm. Female shaykhs and the shawriyya of the Sufi orders were expected to educate younger women and give advice to elder ones, but even they were reluctant to talk about family matters with married women. The coastal women had introduced in Mozambique the notion of sidiq (chittik, in Southern Mozambique), where women collectively contribute cash that each woman can use by rotating turns. This was a common practice among the Inguri Muslin women.
In all regions of the study, conflicts related to family matters, such as contested divorces, polygamous marriages, the access to land and family belongings upon divorce and widowhood were often not taken to official justice instances. These were arbitrated by the family or clan mwenes, and in acute cases were taken to the police. In Corrane and Anchilo, women insisting on their rights within families were frequently accused of witchcraft and adultery and suffered general stigma. Widows contending about their rights often were accused of murdering their husbands for the purpose of obtaining his belongings .
Women’s organizations, such as OMM, AMR (Association of Rural Women), and the institution of apyamwene were considered by local women as powerless for resolving conflicts involving women within the families. Corrane women wondered that if even men of the traditional and government institutions could not ameliorate their situation, how could women make these changes?
Top | Contents| VII. Conclusions
- All the interviewed regulos were unanimous with this respect.Back
- Interview with the judge president of the Community Court, Jos Sabonete. Back
- Interviews with the judge of the District Judicial Court in Muecate, Alde Abudo Pasarera. Back
- Interviews with Sayyid Khaled Nakapa and shaykh Mamade Abdallah, Back
- Interviews with regulo Licuaro of Inguri, Shale Abdallah Yussufo and the judge of the Community Court of the Namaponda Sede, Relogio Nikaka. Back
- Interview with Joao John, local delegate of the IPAJ.Back
- Focus group discussions.Back
This paper attempted to explore the situation of women with respect to land in Mozambique. The fieldwork research was conducted in Nampula Province in diverse but relatively homogeneous religious rural communities of Inguri in Angoche City, of Macua in Corrane and Anchilo, and of Macua in Muecate, where the pilot study was conducted. We attempted to look onto womens situation through the prism of local cultural and religious perceptions, because the impact of the State and State laws are minimal. The research focused on socio-cultural and legal contexts in which women establish and maintain their access to, useage, management, and disposal of the land, control its resources, access and use its benefits, and on womens participation in household decision-making.
According to local cultural perceptions, nloko and nihimo lands are owned collectively by members of kinship groups and cannot be alienated. Thus, an individual may only hold land on the basis of usufruct but he or she cannot own it. In all places where these surveys were conducted these perceptions were still quite strong. Besides kinship lands, there are lands that can be acquired by individual effort through clearance and cultivation of virgin land. Trees were owned individually, independent of which land they were planted.
Although all the populations of the study sites for this research were matrilineal, womens situation with respect the land varied from place to place and from household to household. Similar to the impact of the State, the impact of Christianity or Islam to land practices is not discernible. Overall, it can be said that because of the prevalence of a traditional system of land allocation that does not discriminate by gender, women have equal access to land as men. Only the Corrane culture manifested discriminatory attitudes towards women in comparison to men.
The inheritance pattern of kinship lands followed a matrilineal system, but people could not actually inherit land because it could not be turned into private property or bequest. Kin were merely given a share of land to usufruct by the main heir who controlled the use of the land. The majority of the interviewed people received their land plots from the maternal side of the family. This allowed women to maintain a certain degree of independence from their husbands. According to the local culture in Nampula, both men and women have the possibility of either renting land or sharecropping with the owner. Women had limited means to self acquire lands through clearing or renting in Corrane, Muecate and Anchilo, but were actively involved in this process in Inguri.
Newcomers are forbidden to plant trees in general, but in particular coconut, cashew and fruit trees. However, in practice, planting or buying a tree was frequently used as a vehicle for the appropriation of land both by men and women. Generally, it is culturally perceived that the lineage land where the couple resides or farm for household subsistence, whether it comes from the husbands or wifes side, is a domain of the wife. Thus, the married womans right to use this land is safeguarded. However, when she becomes divorced or widowed, her former husband or his extended kin usually denies her access to those lands. This was particularly problematic if a woman was not native to the community. With respect to self-acquired land, often a married woman used this land jointly with her husband, but upon divorce, the husband frequently continues using this land while the wife loses access. Upon widowhood, the woman often loses this right in favor of the deceased husbands matrilineal family.
Women in general were autonomous in their use and management of their own lands and trees, but often opted to consult with their extended kin. Decision making within the household reflected cooperation between the spouses rather than gendered conflict. Only in Corrane do local cultural perceptions attribute more power to males than to females, but in practice it did not differ significantly from other regions. A woman has certain autonomy over the benefits resulting from her own economic activities, while the couple jointly controls benefits resulting from the couples land. Upon divorce, when the residence is virilocal, the wife often loses her right to a couples lineage land, family belongings (such as the house and domestic utensils). She can also be deprived of her share of harvest by her husband or the matrilineal family of her husband if she is widowed.
The control over household food was mostly in the hands of a woman, because she also controlled lands for household subsistence. Control over the cash within the family varied according to the respondents gender. Culturally, cash should be provided and controlled by the husband, and it is perceived to be humiliating for a man not to be able to provide cash for his family. While men are welcome to produce cash crops and take waged labor, women are expected to take care of the household members and their health. It is not culturally repugnant for a man to embroider and sew, even to make womens clothing. However, it is perceived to be shameful when a man sells produce from the farm that is allocated for family subsistence, which is normally controlled by the wife. As it is generally understood that cash crop production is a male domain, while subsistence farming is a female domain, there are also some kinds of produce selling which are considered to be shameful for men. The money brought by a husband into the family is expected to be controlled mostly by the wife, unless there were some major purchases to be made, in which case it was decided by the husband or together by the couple. The decision making about the purchases and spending money within the household was also culturally perceived to be the domain of wife, except for major and important purchases and expenditures.
Land is relatively abundant in Nampula, so disputes were relatively rare. Land disputes in the research sites involved conflicts between lineage and family members, between individuals and the local community, and between community and private enterprises. We could not find any case involving women. Most of the cases were solved by local communities and were not registered. Most of the grievances of local women were related to the aforementioned conflicts between former husbands and his extended kin and widowed or divorced women. However, is culturally objectionable for a woman to bring up private family matters into the public realm. In all regions of the study, conflicts related to the family matters, such as contested divorces and polygamous marriages, access to land and family belongings on divorce and widowhood were often not taken to official justice organization. These were arbitrated by the family or clan mwenes, and in acute cases were taken to the police.
Women’s organizations, such as OMM, AMR (Association of Rural Women), and the institution of apyamwene were considered by local women as powerless for resolving conflicts involving women within the families. Corrane women wondered that if even men of the traditional and government institutions could not ameliorate their situation, how could women make any changes?
Top | Contents| Interviews
Adamji Karhila – shaykh, member of the Conselho Islmico
Ali Ussene – shaykh, District Delegate of the Congresso Islmico
Amarale Muhilole – regulo Mipaco of Namaponda Sede
Amina Hasan member of the Conselho Islmico
Aiyyuba Demeia – regulo Mutulema of the Namukulio zone of Namaponda Velha
Bramgi Mamade – shawriyya Shadhuliyya Yashrutiyya
Chale Quesso – khalifa Qadiriyya, Namaponda Sede
Chamsi Ossufo – shawriyya of the Brazanji group and khalifa Shadhuliyya Madaniyya
Echtar Shurtiyya – khalifa Shadhuliyya Yashrutiyya
Estevo Amisse – the Director of the Autarchic Administrative Unit of Mossurir, Inguri
Haji Fatima Namuali – khalifa of Sufi order and and teacher of the madrassa.
Hasan Ali “Cncaco” – shaykh, member of the Conselho Islmico
Hasan Bashir – ruling inhapakho
Jamaldin Elembwe – shaykh, member of the Ahl al-Sunna (Andar al-Sunna)
Joo John – District Delegate of the IPAJ (Instituto parassistencia Juridica)
Julio Abakar Muhamade – Secretary of the Autarchic Admisntrative Unit of Inguri
Mamade Abdallah – shaykh, member of the Conselho Islmico
Mohammad Hamid – responsible for the Unit 2 of Inguri zone of Angoche City
Mussa Ibrahimo Siraj – shaykh, member of the Ahl al-Sunna (Ansar al-Sunna)
Relogio Nikaka – judge of the Community Court of Namaponda Sede
Sayyid Khaled Nakapa – the healer
Sayyid Hasan – khalifa Rufa’iyya, Qatamoyo Island
Shale Abdallah Yussufo – regulo Licuaro of
Zainab Swalehe, Macandinha – khalifa Shadhuliyya Yashrutiyya
Adolfo Jose Murihiwa – president-judge of Meconta Sede Community Court
Adolfo Madruga – judge -president of Meconat Sede Community Court
Andr Trato – regulo Napita
Arlindo Suanheia – technical assistant for Associao Yussuf Nurmamade
Artur Baltazar – supervisor for CLUSAc
Arnaldo Manuel Jamal Ministry of Agriculture official at the Post
Armando Miguel – 48, husband of Fatima Jos
Fatima Jos – 48, wife of Armando Miguel
Father Ferno Magales – Mission Nossa Senhora da Conceio
Fernando Abel – regulo Mucapera
Julio Aro Maquina – agricultural extencionist of the Post
Jacinta Unromora – Mucapera apyamwene
Jos Parrinha – associate representative of the Sattar-Agrico
Laurinda Artur – 18, Armando Miguel’s new wife
Momade Manuel – Head Secretary of the Post
Paulo Nantombe – technical assistant for SODAN
Alfredo Capetine Machaieie – District Director for Agriculture and Rural Development, District of Nampula
Antonio Riare – Resident
Francisco Buana – Head of the Administrative Post.
Lius Ernesto Umbuechiua – regulo Unbechiua
Manuel Amos – head of the Land Cadastre in Direo Provincial de Agricultura of Nampula
Sister Maria de Jesus – Cathechetic Centre
Maria Fernando – member Rural Women Association
Maria da Luz – member Rural Women Association
Maria Joana Cardoso – President of the Fiscal Council, Rural Women Association
Pedro Antonio Sacuro – head of the Agriculturre for the Posto
Pedro Jos Calisto – scribe of the Judicial Court, Meconta
Sabina Nhamanha member of the Rural Women Association
Afonso Chicoche – regulo Rainha
Manuel Nauacha Palhota – District Director for Agriculture and Rural Development, Meconta District;
First Secretary of the FRELIMO Party;
Shaykh of the local mosque
Top | Contents| Focus Group Discussions
Focus Group Discussions
Women of Brazanji qasida singing group, Association Nur Islamo
Male Khalifas of the turuq (Sufi Orders):
Amade Swaleh – Shadhuliyya Yashrutiyya
Mussa Piloto – Shadhuliyya Madaniyya
Sayyid Hasan Abakar – Shadhuliyya Madaniyya
Sharifo Terno – Shadhuliyya Yashrutiyya
Ussene Suleiman – Shadhuliyya Yashrutiyya
Female shaykhas of the turuq (Sufi Orders):
Faida Husein – khalifa Shadhuliyya Madaniyya
Fatima Abdallah – naquibo Shadhuliyya Yashrutiyya
Muantimo Chamo – shawriyya Shadhuliyya Yashrutiuua
Muaisha Yussufo – shawriyya Shadhuliyya Madaniyya
Mwaneima Mandiha – khalifa Shadhuliyya Bagdade
Female Members of the Ahl al-Sunna (Ansar al-Sunna):
Amina Mussa Ussene
Maimuna Mussa Piloto
Community Court of the City of Angoche:
Florncio Manuel – judge – president
Ral Cardoso – elected judge
Fatima Amusse elected judge
Jamal Chale – elected judge juiz eleito
Alberto Uhanhoboa – scribe
Local Women, regulado Mucapera:
Angelina Francisco -23, polygamous marriage, 2nd wife
Florinda Alberta – around 30, monogamous marriage
Lucia Fernando- 25, monogamous marriage
Rita Fernando Chave – 25, monogamous marriage
Josefa, Samuli – 45, monogamous marriage
Joaquina Vitorina -21, polygamous marriage, 2nd wife
Inacia Pacota – 35, monogamous marriage
Madalena Malissa – around 40, monogamous marriage
Marta Jorge Dieja – 30, monogamous marriage
Luciana Muacigarro – around 60, monogamous marriage
Petira Teteha – around 70, monogamous marriage
Quiteria Miranda- 22 years old, 1 child, 2nd marriage, 2nd wife in polygamous marriage
Jos Sabonete – judge – president
Zito Luciano Martinho-judge
Arlindo Andrade Daudo – president-judge of Jabire, Jojo
Anabela Assane – judge
Fernando Chapule – scribe
Ricardo Francisco Wate – assistant to the Court
Habimo Ismail – member of Conselho Islmico
Jamal Assane – Qadiriyya Sa’adat, imam of the local mosque, member of the Congresso Islmico
Justino Dale – muride Qadiriyya, member of the Congresso Islmico
Paulo Venhane – khalifa Qadiriyya Saadat, member of the Congresso Islmico
Salimo Colete – member of the Conselho Islmico, owner of the mosque
Salimo Mussa – owner of the mosque, member of the Conselho Islmico;
Men and Women (all married):
Ana Agostinho, 27 yaers old
Cecilia Armando, 32
Cesar Prame, 45
Elsira Sabonete, 45 years old
Ernesto Joo, 40
Ernesto Namurque, 60
Jose Mucussete, 32
Rosa Charahane, 33,
Silvestre Capuquia, 45
Fernando Notas – judge – president
Armando Joo – judge
Cecilia Augusto Jos – judge
Cecilia Lopes – judge
Ismela Hassane – judge
Jos Macurere – scribe
Mali Amade – judge
Constantino Artur Amisse – scribe
Men and women, 12 people (names not registered): 7 women and 5 men
Women, regulado de Umbuechiua:
Clara Pires, 34, divorced
Eminda Sabado – 55, married monogamously
Gracinda Martins – 29, divorced
Fatima Calavete, 23 anos, married monogamously
Flora Almeide – 29, divorced
Halda Amisse, married polygamously, 2nd wife
Joana Satavi, 34, divorced
Maria de Luis, 53, widow
Maria Muamigo, 45, married monogamously
Women (names were not registered):
1 – 22 year old, divorced, Catholic
2 – 20, married, monogamous canonic Catholic union
3 – 27 old, divorced, Catholic
4 – 18 years old, monogamously married, Muslim
5 – 25 year old, married monogamously, Catholic
6 – 25 years old, married polygamously, first out of three wives, Catholic
7 – 20 years old, divorced, Cartholic
8 -42 years old, widow, Muslim
9 – 37 years old, divorced, was the only wife, Catholic
10 – 26 years old, second wife, Catholic
11 – around 60, married, polygamously, 1st wife, Muslim.
12 – around 48, divorced, no religion.
13 – 25, married, polygamously, 2nd wife, Muslim
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