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Journal for the Study of Religion

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Civil Religious Dynamics in José Craveirinha’s Aesthetisised Nationalism

SJ Ngale

Abstract


This paper is about the way in which Craveirinha’s aesthetic representation in Karingana-Ua-Karingana, Xigubo and Cela 1, helped gather a shared repertoire near the will (longings, desires, wishes) of many Mozambicans – the organic civil religion, into a coherent political project – the instrumental civil religion. That is, how an eschatological symbolism in Craveirinha’s poems created an aesthetic platform for the emergence of a Mozambican civil religion, known as Moçambicanidade. Jose Craveirinha is known to be the godfather of poets and short story writers in Mozambique, a towering figure in the literary world who, in life, dreamed of and projected an image of a just and modern southeast African nation at the end of twentieth century. In key poems of Karingana-Ua-Karingana, Xigubo and Cela 1 he evoked old Nguni warriors and larger-than-life figures, such as Maguiguana and Mahazul; and Bantu deities and spirits, such as Jambul, and Ngungunhane the Nguni emperor. He summoned the powers of mother Africa, brother Zambezi; he also painted images of young men melting in the sounds of Xipalapala and bare chested young Negroes raising their arms to the light of sister moon and dancing the war dance of ancient tribes of the river. There are plenty of drumbeats, war songs dances in circles around the fire. He uses thus, teleological and eschatological imagery and symbolism to construct an ideal group (communal in the Anderson’s meaning of the word, tribal or national) identity to which, he wants to be part of, and names it Moçambique.

Keywords: Religion, Aesthetic, Nationalism, Civil Religion




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