Literature Archive > Mozambique > Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa
Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa

Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa, whose Portuguese name is Francisco Esaú Cossa, was born in 1957 in Inhaminga, in the province of Sofala. Speaker of Tsonga, Khosa attended primary school in Sofala and secondary school in the province of Zambézia. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in History and Geography from the Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo. After the independence, Khosa became a school teacher and worked for the Ministry of Education. He is now the Director of the Instituto Nacional do Livro e do Disco (National Institute of the Book and Disc). His literary career started with his participation in the literary magazine Charrua and the publication of his first novel Ualalapi (1987). Since then he published three more novels — No Reino dos Abutres (In the Kingdom of Vultures, 2002), Os Sobreviventes da Noite (The Survivors of the Night, 2005) and Choriro (2009) — as well as two collections of short-stories: Orgia dos Loucos (Orgy of the Madmen, 1990) and Histórias de Amor e Espanto (Stories of Love and Wonder, 1993). Ualalapi was awarded the Grand Prize for Mozambican Fiction in 1990, and was considered one of the 100 best works of African Fiction of the 20th century. In 2007 Os Sobreviventes da Noite won the José Craveirinha literary prize.



The Nation by Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa:

"What I think, and I came to understand this only much later, for example, only with the painting of Malangatana or the poetry of Craveirinha, is that we tried to build a nation where the discursive space was built over an ‘ethnic’ world and over the cultural diversity that this country has, and which is the reality of the country. All that was purely and simply mutilated. FRELIMOcame along and that [policy] is reflected in the decisions of their third congress, which took place two years after independence. ‘Kill the tribe so that the nation can be born.’ They wanted to build a utopia, a nation, a country, but the premises behind it were eminently political. That’s my real worry. We have killed… not exactly in the sense of assassinating these identities, but have we totally stifled those spaces that people identified with? Personally, I think this was the first great mistake that we made, building a nation, not on a cultural basis, but on a political basis. As a country, we were born politically."


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