Black Drums, White Ears: Colonialism and the Homogenization of Social and Cultural Practices in Southern Mozambique (1890-1940)

Matheus Serva Pereira About the author


In this article, I analyse how practices referred to generically in the historical documentation as ‘batuque’ (drums) underwent a process of homogenization and scrutinization by diverse Portuguese colonial agents. On one hand, the co­lonial agents insisted on unifying everything they saw as dance and music under the generic category of ‘batuque.’ On the other hand, the need for a better understanding of the subordinate Africans ended up producing colonial responses that shifted between a dissection of the term in search of a more accurate apprehension of what was being observed and an incorporation of these practices into the colonial enterprise. This process was conceived by the colonial agents as a way of appropriating the dances, songs and music made by the natives of southern Mozambique into the ultramarine Portuguese nationalist discourse.

colonialism; homogenization; ‘batuques’; Southern Mozambique

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