Mozambique: “We Exist” – Photographic Project Sees Maputo’s “Other” Margins Boldly Enter the Spotlight

A series of four articles examines issues of politics, law, rights, culture, popular culture, language, stigma, crime, discrimination and the individual experience of the queer community in four African countries.

On a balmy October day this year, the lawn of the German Cultural Center in Maputo was a hive of activity as a small team of people prepared to put together an outdoor exhibit. Caio Simões de Araújo, who was leading the team, remembers curious people passing by – “in fact, they came and asked us: ‘Where do these photos come from? “Because they don’t really imagine it exists in Maputo, you know. They don’t really know.”

Entitled “Outros Corpos Nossos (Other Bodies of Us)”, the exhibition – which also served as the launch of the eponymous book – was, certainly by Mozambican standards, not a dish of the ordinary art world. It featured images of Maputo’s “other” misfits – the city’s homosexuals.

As an introduction to the project, the book’s liner notes read, “Other Bodies of Ours follows a group of queer artists and activists as they carve out space for themselves in the world and in the city. The texts, photographs, portraits and testimonies constitute a living and lived archive of queer …

Michael E. Marquez