Luis Bernardo Honwana: A Life of Advocacy, Culture, Literary Impact

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Luis Bernardo Honwana was born Luis Augusto Bernardo Manuel in Lourenco Marques (present-day Maputo), Mozambique. His parents, Raul Bernardo Manuel (Honwana) and Naly Jeremias Nhaca, belonged to the Ronga people from Moamba, a town about 55 km northwest of Maputo. In 1964 he became a militant with FRELIMO, a front that had the objective to liberate Mozambique from Portuguese colonial rule. Due to his political activities he was arrested by the colonial authorities and was incarcerated for three years. He studied law in Portugal and worked for some time as a journalist.

He was appointed director of President's office under Samora Machel.

Later in 1981, he became Secretary of State for culture. He served on the Executive Board of UNESCO from 1987 to 1991 and was chairman of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Committee for the World Decade for Culture and Development. In 1995, he was appointed director of the newly opened UNESCO office in South Africa. Since he retired from the organization in 2002, he has been active in research in the arts, history and ethno-linguistics.

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[1] Works Honwana is the author of a single book, Nos Matamos o Cao-Tinhoso (1964), translated into English as We Killed Mangy Dog and Other Stories, and the tale "Hands of the Blacks".

This work has proved enormously influential and a case can be made for it being the touchstone of contemporary Mozambican narrative. We Killed Mangy Dog is a collection of short stories set in the (Portuguese) colonial era at the turn of the sixties and is reflective of the harsh life black Mozambicans lived under the Salazar regime.

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Several of the stories are told from the point of view of children or alienated adolescents and most feature the rich mix of races, religions and ethnicities that would later preoccupy Mozambique's most internationally celebrated writer, Mia Couto.

Of the seven young men involved, Princip succeeded in killing the Archduke. (Read the Sarajevo, June 28, 1914 article for a fuller account of the assassination. ) The careful secrecy of the Black Hand delayed its being found out as the instigator of the crime until many weeks later. By that time, the guilt for the crime had settled loosely on Serbia in general. Tensions between Serbia and Austria eventually drew in the other European powers and escalated into world war. Towards the end of 1916, Prime Minister Pasic decided to destroy the leaders of the Black Hand and break up the organization.

By the spring of 1917, many Black Hand leaders, including Apis, had been arrested. A sham trial before a military tribunal was held in May 1917 for Apis and others. Among the charges was that the Black Hand had attempted to murder Prince Regent Alexander. Though the number of witnesses against them were numerous, the evidence cited was nearly all hearsay or outright fabrications. Apis and six others were sentenced to death. Three obtained commutations to long prison terms, but Apis and three comrades were executed by firing squad on June 26, 1917. In June 1917, the Black Hand was outlawed.

Intriguing and insurrection, by their very nature, however, are not bothered by legalities. A new organization -- The White Hand -- was formed from trustworthy men of Narodna Odbrana . It continued the imperialistic work of the Black Hand, using the same techniques. The death of Vojislav Petrovic, an ex-attache to the Yugoslav Legation in London, was said to be the work of Narodna Odbrana . Petrovic was preparing a book on the history of the Sarajevo assassinations and the Black Hand. In what became Yugoslavia after the war, the White Hand grew into an essential piece of the state's machinery.

Updated: Nov 30, 2023
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Luis Bernardo Honwana: A Life of Advocacy, Culture, Literary Impact. (2016, Oct 25). Retrieved from

Luis Bernardo Honwana: A Life of Advocacy, Culture, Literary Impact essay
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