n African Journal on Conflict Resolution - Women, war and peace in Mozambique : the case of Manica Province

Volume 15, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-6997


The Mozambican civil war, 1977-1992, left an ambiguous legacy for women. Whilst women were among the most vulnerable victims of the war, in some ways they were also its unintended beneficiaries. The civil war, by weakening both the state and the traditional family, offered unprecedented opportunities for women to break free from patriarchal control. Especially decisive were women's own responses to the war, which in turn were a function of their pre-war situation, class, and personal history. Some women managed to see and seize opportunities in their predicament and prospered, especially as informal entrepreneurs, while many others succumbed to their fate. A few even engaged in civil society activism, for instance, setting up victim support networks and participating in peacebuilding. This paper shows that, while destroying society the war also catalysed the process of gender transformation, social fragmentation and civil society activism. It concludes that violent conflict is a moment of choice, in which individual and collective responses create opportunities and/or constraints.

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