Leveraging Alternatives: Early FRELIMO, the Soviet Union, and the Infrastructure of African Political Exile
- Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East
- Duke University Press
- Volume 41, Number 1, May 2021
- pp. 11-26
- Additional Information
This article explores the place of the USSR in the imagination, circuitry, and everyday practice of the early Mozambican nationalist movement configuring itself in exile in Dar es Salaam. Soviet plans, like those of the US, for engaging African liberation movements were ambitiously imagined, but superpower influence cohered within relatively narrow, if global, corridors. This impact (through funding, scholarships, and more) was at once significant and unfolded in unpredictable ways. The article traces these contingent forms across scales of "comrade life," from the leadership rivalries playing out between Dar, Accra, Moscow, Washington DC, and Cairo, to the "view from the veranda": the aspirations, grievances, and material strug les that marked the daily rhythms of life for rank-and-file cadres. What emerges is a less-familiar face of the USSR in Africa. Rather than the Cold War superpower confidently guiding its impact, it appears here as an intimate part of an African-managed infrastructure of political exile.