Literature Archive > Mozambique > João Paulo Borges Coelho
João Paulo Borges Coelho

João Paulo Borges Coelho, Mozambican historian and writer, was born in Oporto (Portugal) in 1955 from a Portuguese father and a Mozambican mother. When he was a few months old, his family moved to Mozambique. João Paulo Borges Coelho grew up in Beira, the second largest city in Mozambique, and later moved to the capital to study History at the Eduardo Mondlane University. In 1993, he was awarded a PhD in Social and Economic History by the University of Bradford (United Kingdom). The title of his thesis is “Protected Villages and Communal Villages in the Mozambican Province of Tete (1968-1982): A History of State Resettlement Policies, Development and War”. He is an Associate Professor at the Department of History at the Eduardo Mondlane University where he teaches courses on the contemporary history of Mozambique and Southern Africa. He was also invited as a Visiting Professor to teach at the Master's Programme on History of Africa at the Faculty of Letters of the University of Lisbon. He published articles on Mozambican colonial and civil wars in several scientific journals. Borges Coelho's career as a writer started in 2003 when he published the novel As Duas Sombras do Rio (The Two Shadows of the River). Since then he published four more novels – As Visitas do Dr. Valdez (The Visits of Dr. Valdez, 2004); Crónica da Rua 513.2 (Chronicle of the 513.2 Street, 2006); Campo de Trânsito (The Camp of Transit, 2007) and O Olho de Hertzog (The Eye of Hertzog, 2010) -, two volumes of short stories – Índicos Indícios I: Setentrião and II: Meridião (Indic Traces I: North and II: South, 2005) -, and two novellas: Hinyambaan (2008) and Cidade dos Espelhos (City of the Mirrors, 2011). As Visitas do Dr. Valdez was awarded Prémio José Craveirinha in Mozambique and O Olho de Hertzog was awarded Prémio Leya in Portugal.



The Nation by João Paulo Borges Coelho:

"For me, the notion of the nation is a perverse one and, in a certain sense, it is actually quite a reactionary notion. What I am saying is that the nation is something that doesn’t apply to me. I understand it in the context of self-defence. So, in this sense, I understand that it – or rather, the idea of the nation, for example, in sub-Saharan Africa is legitimized as a mechanism of self-defence in the period that follows colonialism, but not in the period that preceded it.So, my connection is with specific lands and people and, in this sense, I can conceive of Mozambique as a territorial entity, but as a territorial entity that does not end with its borders. These borders are constructions."

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