Paulina Chiziane: O alegre canto da perdiz (The Joyful Cry of the Partridge)

The latest addition to my website is Paulina Chiziane‘s O alegre canto da perdiz (The Joyful Cry of the Partridge). This is a part realist story but one told on a mythical level as Chiziane damns sexism, racism, colonialism, mixed race marriage and polygamy. We start with Maria das Dores, found wandering and naked in Gurúè. She is the daughter of the opportunist Delfina whose lust leads her to Jose, who will later brutally help the Portuguese represss his fellow Mozambicans. Delfina meanwhile goes off with a white Portuguese man, Soares, and they have a daughter, Jacinta. As she looks white she is much better treated by her mother and society at large, while Maria das Dores is worked hard and then essentially sold into prostitution to a prophet, Simba by whom she has three children, before fleeing and almost dying. Her children are rescued by nuns while she wanders the country – mad woman she is called – looking for them. It is a sad tale but a mythical one and often told in a mythical language, showing up colonial and post-colonial Mozambique.

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