Between 1957 and 1960, anthropologist Jorge Dias, one of the main figures of Portuguese colonial ethnography and Luso-Tropicalist Movement, conducted three successive field studies in the Macondes Plateau, in Northern Mozambique. The material he gathered would be compiled in the extensive monograph “Os Macondes de Moçambique” (1964-70), one of Portuguese anthropology’s most fundamental works. In 1959, during the third expedition to Mozambique, Jorge Dias stayed for some days in my family’s house, in Mucojo, where my grandfather was the post administrator.
“Nshajo (The Game)” articulates the narration of a prosaic episode of Jorge Dias’ stay in Mucojo with an attempt of visual reflection on anthropological representation and the processes of empirical observation, imitation, and acculturation. Continuity lines are delineated between systems of representation and paroxysmal imaginaries through the combination of a fake anthropological documentary with familiar archive footage from Mozambique during Portuguese colonialism.
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