Webs of memory

Image credit: Fabiana Miraz de Freitas Grecco.

In the dull melancholy of the ceiling

bobbin webs embroider solitude

while gentle shadow whispers,

in the brilliant mutism of the mirror,

recite verses of dust.

Teias de memoria

Na baça melancolia do tecto

bilros de teia bordam solidão

enquanto meigos sussurros de sombra

no brilhante mutismo do espelho

recitam estrofes de poeira.

Teias da memória

Noémia de Sousa

Editor’s note: Women & Moçambicanidade

Born in Katembe, Mozambique in 1926 Noémia de Sousa was a writer, poet and journalist, as well as the Mother of the Mozambican literary canon and the

founding mother of Moçambicanidade, the putative cultural nationalism of the 1950’s.

She published her only collection of poetry Sangue Negro in 1990, although her writing was widely distributed through newspapers and literary journals during her lifetime. Her vibrant, stimulating poetry draws you into an intensely unsettling world of mistrust, injustice and oppression; her dynamic poetic voices rattling in protest against the banality of colonialism in Africa. Yet her poetry rings with examples of human strength, dignity and pride.

While it is widely known she used her initials ‘NS’ at the start of her publishing career to obscure her gender, women are a permanent element in her work. Her pioneering approach to gender was deeply connected to the anti-colonial resistance and the fight for the rights of her people.

Noémia de Sousa died in 2002 in Cascais, Portugal and remains one of the most notable poets from Mozambique and one of the most popular and loved Portuguese-speaking African poets embodying a generation of courage and resistance.


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