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Last Updated: Friday, 17 June, 2005, 15:29 GMT 16:29 UK
What does independence mean for you?

Mozambique floods
In 2001, Mozambique still recovering from war was hit by devastating floods

Mozambicans are preparing to celebrate 30 years of independence from Portugal on 25 June.

Some Mozambicans say that independence was "stolen" by the civil war. Real peace came only in 1992.

During the 1970s and 80s Mozambique was a "frontline state" - drawn into the struggle against white rule in Rhodesia and South Africa.

A million Mozambicans then died in a 17-year civil war that ruined the countryside and economy. The 1992 political settlement between Frelimo and the Renamo movement was followed by stability and economic growth for one of the world's poorest countries.

Severe setbacks came in 2000 and again in 2001 when floods affected about a quarter of the population and destroyed infrastructure. And in 2002 severe droughts affected the same areas.

BBC Africa Live wants to find out, decades on, how Africans feel about independence.

Here are the views of some Mozambicans on what independence day means to them.

Moura Julai, 49, Maputo

Moura Julai

I joined the Liberation Front in 1973 in the central province of Sofala when I was a 17-year-old student.

My decision to join the comrades who were already in the bush fighting for independence was not a difficult one. My uncle and aunt, like many thousands of other people, were killed in the hands of the much feared Portuguese secret police.

I despised colonialism, the way it downgraded and humiliated us. It was a worthy cause and I have no regrets. We became free and a nation. Unfortunately though these 30 years of independence have not been exactly what we had hoped for.

The civil war we had left us on our knees and we're still struggling to recover. Our hopes are now pinned on the young democracy we're building.

Joao Lingua. 57, Maputo

Joao Lingua

I was only 22 when I decided that my place was amongst those the Portuguese liked calling 'turras' or terrorists.

It was at the peak of an intensive and violent operation mounted by the Portuguese army in an attempt to dislodge the independence fighters from what we used to call 'liberation zones' - colonialism free areas.

I actually responded to the appeals that would be secretly whispered in our villages and towns so that we strengthened the liberation army.

I celebrated independence in Maputo where the central ceremonies were held.

I can vividly remember the moment. It was very emotional and something I'm very proud to have been part of. Now I just hope the younger generation follow suit in this very different fight we're faced with: the fight against poverty.

Fernando Rocotso, 23, Maputo

I'm a student as well as an English teacher. I wasn't born at the time of Mozambique's independence from the Portuguese but I have learnt a lot about it.

I'm the fourth son of my father's 13 children - six boys and seven girls. The high cost of living forced me to teach to be able to pay for my studies.

I live in this poor suburb of the Mozambican capital, Maputo, called Laulane.

Fernando Rocotso

For me freedom from colonial rule is a big conquest but it's not enough. The war didn't make life easy and even though it's over, we still face enormous difficulties.

These include unemployment, crime, the high cost of living, low salaries, lack of higher public education institutions and the lack of piped drinking water.

Like in many suburbs of Maputo city, here in Laulane the government does not collect garbage despite the fact that it charges us a monthly fee for the purpose.

This, for me, is theft. We are paying for something we do not benefit from. As a result, we are forced to open holes in our yards to bury the garbage.

I'm old enough to marry and have my own house and family. But like many young Mozambicans, I continue to live at my parents' house and mostly at their expense.

Since my father lost his job in the South African mines, we've been living mainly on farming. We grow maize, sweet potatoes, cabbage, groundnuts, beans, cassava and pumpkins. In drought times, you can imagine our suffering.

My teaching salary is only good enough to pay for my studies in high school. Therefore, if I was asked what I would like my government to put as its three top priority action to alleviate poverty I would say: help reduce the cost of living, build more public universities, and wipe out the high-level of corruption and diversion of aid.

Salome Moiane, 54, Maputo

I'm a mother of four girls - all of them lawyers and judges - and grandmother of three. I hold many posts, including that of adviser to the minister of planning and development and chairperson of the Mozambican Association for the Promotion of Women.

On independence day 25 June, 1975, I was in Beira, Mozambique's second largest city. We were crying with happiness under heavy rainfall in the city's main stadium where the core of the independence celebrations in Sofala province were.

Salome Moiane
As a Mozambican, independence for me means liberty, justice, freedom of expression and the equality of rights and duties between men and women.

Thousands of Mozambicans also live in much better conditions than in colonial times.

I'm proud to say we are educating our women. We want to guarantee our equality but we want to do it together with our role in the family. We now have women ministers, women judges, women governors and women economists. This was also thanks to literacy campaigns. We motivated women to go to school.

The first woman to hold a high government post was the country's former first lady, Graca Machel. Since last year, we now have a woman Prime Minister - Luisa Diogo. We are proud of her.

I think, we now need to reinforce the conditions in workplaces so that parents can take care of their children.

For me, independence is something to celebrate.


What does independence day mean for you? After decades of independence, what is there to celebrate? Have we forgotten those that fought for us?

This debate has now closed. Thanks for your comments. Here's a sample of them below.

Your Comments:

A child must first reach manhood before he begins to wear a wrapper meant for the adult or the wrapper will envelop him
Celestine-Oscar Evuleocha, Sydney

Among the Igbos of Nigeria there is a saying that "if the lizard leaves the stem of a tree for long, it will be captured" and "A child must first reach manhood before he begins to wear a wrapper meant for the adult or the wrapper will envelop him". In Nigeria independence politically can mean government of the people by the well-connected and for the people. So many years after independence yet my people can not find their feet, from one system of government to the other and from one leader to the next, from one election campaign promise to the other; my people have remained in a misserable state despite being citizens of an oil rich country. The good thing about independence is that the 'cause' of those who fought and died for independence of any given country still lives on. They died but their 'cause' lives.
Celestine-Oscar Evuleocha, Sydney, Australia.

Kwame Nkrumah meant well and knew more than just mere physical independence when he said the independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked with the total liberation of Africa. I know Nkrumah will be saddened by the African not wanting to be liberated both mentally and physically but is only concerned with 'fiscal' independence. So much for freedom and justice!
Abubakar Ibrahim, Accra-Ghana

You don't have to be colonized to talk about independence. I know those who have lost independence know better how painful is it to live with out independence. I am so happy for my brothers and sisters in Mozambique and says to them congratulations.
Haile Tadesse, Ethiopia

Independece is merely symbolic because alot of our mental attitude is rooted in colonialism
James Muiruri, Kenyan

There are Mau Mau war survivors, who are heroes to many in the world but have been neglected, abandoned and betrayed by the beneficiaries of their heroism. I have talked to them and all they do is have weekly meetings to talk of their poverty and hopelessness. Independece is merely symbolic because alot of our mental attitude is rooted in colonialism.
James Muiruri, Kenyan, UK

l was born during the 1966 Uganda crisis two years after independence. Independent Uganda started on a wrong footing as in most of our local languages, independence was translated as rebellion. No wonder since the 1964 East African army mutinies, Uganda has been plagued in a series of rebellions from the 1966/67 crisis, 1971 coup that brought Amin to power,1978/79 Uganda Tanzania war that ousted Amin, five year bush war that brought Museveni to power, and the ongoing 19 year old northern rebellion. At least we should do away with the arbitrary colonial boundaries and integrate into regional federations like East Africa,West Africa,Southern Africa,The Congo Basin, The Nile Valley, The Maghrib etc...and a Pan African common market along European Union line.Otherwise independence will remain on paper if Africa remains with artificial states where there is lack of nationalism and corruption is the order of the day.
Ahmed Kateregga Musaazi, Uganga

The term independence is being used wrongly to describe a situation that does not exist in reality. I see only few countries who can claim to be some what "independent".
Digafe Kidan,

Independence means dignity. My late father who was born during colonial rule in Uganda was able to become a professional man as were his compatriots. Before that their only opportunity would have been to be a houseboy or gardener for their colonial masters. Whenever I travel to Uganda and Tanzania I see many Africans who are running their own lives and contributing successfully to their families and communities.
Jenny Abura, UK

Independence just brought suffering to us. Just imagine tiny Sierra Leone, corruption has eaten the fabric of that country
Sorie J. Bayoh, Mali

Independence just brought suffering to us. Just imagine tiny Sierra Leone, corruption has eaten the fabric of that country. There's been no development since after Independence so there's nothing to celebrate. It's time for our colonial masters to come back and recolonise us even though we said they exploited us. Education has gone down the drain and only the priviledged ones go to good schools and universities abroad.
Sorie J. Bayoh, Sierra Leonean living in Mali

Mere political independence results to nothing but a system of disguised colonialism and tyranny. Manifested in the hands of so called glorious messengers otherwise known as African Presidents.
Mohammed Dukuly, Liberia/USA

Independence has not made Africa anything better than a big begger, plagued by senseless wars, killer-diseases and starvation
Madi Ceesay, USA

The one thing the African people got after independence is the right to design and hoist their own national flags
Asefa Gebreyes , USA

The one thing the African people got after independence is the right to design and hoist their own national flags. Otherwise, for the majority, the political and economic situations now are identical if not worst than what they were during the colonial era.
Asefa Gebreyes , USA

There is nothing to celebrate. Many even regret having been part of the independence struggle. The old talk of "the good old days" and "things will never be the same again". Africa has stagnated for too long and now we must move. We can't even manage and maintain the small structures and institutions that were handed to us during indepedence. Look at the state of our roads, look at the schools and hospitals and some are even talking of handing schools back to the missions which are remnants of colonialism.
Samuel Fungwa, Cameroon/Cyprus

Independence means taking stock of our achievements and failures, and committing to work on improving the lot of our people. To do this, we must be honest about where we have fallen short, accept our roles in that and work to avoid what has kept us back. The time for blaming colonialism for our problems is way past.
Clement Apaak, Canada/Ghana

Nothing to me. 40 years after independence Africa is as poor and as hell doomed as ever. Africa is facing a different type of colonisation and until they're free no one knows what independence is.
Willie Tangwan, Edinburgh, UK

Until we are able to feed ourselves,we would never be deemed as independent
Freddy Johnson, Sierra Leone

Total independence will never be attained while we continue to depend on our colonial masters and their allies for our economic survival. Until we are able to feed ourselves,we would never be deemed as independent.
Freddy Johnson, Sierra Leone /U.S.A

To me independence is something that should be celebrated by all Mozambicans regardeless of their social status, religious, ethnic or cultural heritage.
, Mozambique

I was not around when the so-called independence was achieved. I don't see most African countries as independent both politically and economically. They can't vote for leaders of their choice and heavily depend on donor countries for their most basic needs.
Assan Jallow, The Gambia

Political independence to me means freedom from slavery, socio-political, economic, cultural and religious subjugation. Freedom from racial discrimination. Freedom from discrimination against based upon one's sexual orientation. However, we have to revisit our thoughts if we think that we are politically free after attaining political independence from colonialist who oppressed us.
Dominic Woja Maku, Sudanese, Canada

Despite the numerous problems that lie ahead.....the liberation of Africa stands and still is a momentous historical event
Aleks Takyi, Nebraska

Independence Day celebrations reinforce our forefather's commitment to African self-determination. It encourages us to look forward to a better tomorrow, teaches the young about the hurdles Africa had to overcome in attaining sovereignty and how independence gave us a representative voice on the world stage. Although the lustre no longer account for what once was a proud achievement, it honours our nationalist leaders who led in the struggle. Despite the numerous problems that lie ahead, the tasks of nation building, economic growth, and the maintenance of democratic institutions, the liberation of Africa stands and still is a momentous historical event.
Aleks Takyi, Omaha, Nebraska, USA

As a citizen of so called third world country I think independence mean the West no longer use force to obtain our natural resources but obtain them through unfair trade practices and dictating what sort of political and economic system they want us to have.
Blessing Akiri Young, A Liberian living in the U.S.A

To say that Africa nations were granted independence is not accurate. For most African nations there is no freedom to exercise economic freedom. Political freedom does not exist because of colonial ties which assures those in power, that their colonial masters will come to their rescue. Our forefathers fought for independence, this generation of African leaders turnover that independence to the colonial leaders in exchange for absolute rights to victimize their people. Independence for Africans, is nothing but a puppet show between Africas as the audience(s), thier presidents as the puppets and the colonial governments as the puppetees.
Levai Babaya, USA

There is very little to celebrate about. The ideals of the patriots and nationalists who fought and died in the stuggle cannot be upheld and the significance of independence cannot be adhered to unless the human and natural resources are judiciously used.
Eseme Ojaruega, Dominican Republic

To an African the idea of independnce can only be received with a mixed feeling. While on one hand one hand someone would be elated that they are not under the colonials masters of Europe, on the other hand people feel that they are under the colonial master of bad governments, looting of national treasuries as the case in Nigeria and the general neglect of the common man.
Toate Ganago, Nigeria/U. S. A

I would prefer dependence which would mean depending on our natural and human resources for our economic and social well being
Malik Johnson, Sierra Leone

If independence is depending on the G8 for handouts,budgetary support, debt relief, security then I would prefer dependence which would mean depending on our natural and human resources for our economic and social well being.
Malik Johnson, Sierra Leone/Silver Spring,MD

An independent country must be willing and capable of mustering enough courage to manage her economic affairs, with less reliability on foreign aid, hand-outs and loans. Unfortunately, African politicians have woefully failed in the deliberation and administration of these God-given resources. Africa, after over 40 years of independence, still import their staple food, when we have vast virgin forests and lands.
Moses S. Wilson, USA

I wish my native country called Sierra Leone was still under a British colonial rule. Since the British left in 1961, the country had drifted into corruption, political conflicts, and oppression of the poor.
Henry Mathia, U.S.A/Sierra Leone

For Nigerians, it has meant unimaginable wealth and obscene luxury for the well-connected, and misery for the rest of us.
UE, UK/Nigeria

Independence has meant the begining of a long obscure, tragic period in Africa. It has been a waste of energy and lives. Independence have been prematurely given to Africans.
Sauvignon, DR Congo

Is there such a thing as political independence when your economy has been geared to be eternally dependent
Makonnen Ketema, Jamaica

I think we should make a distinction between political and economic Independence. Under colonial rule, the African economy was setup to service the colonial powers. When the African countries became politically independent, they inherited this economic practice that could only be changed with an influx of capital. As we all know, they never had the capital that could reverse the economic mess they inherited. Accordingly, Africa continues to be economically dependent on Western nations. Is there such a thing as political independence when your economy has been geared to be eternally dependent?
Makonnen Ketema, Jamaica

It means that the time has come for us to be responsible for the day to day running of our lives.
Nathaniel Charley, Canada

Independence to me, is the ability of a nation or state to take charge of her own affairs having been under the rule of a colonial master. Independence day is a day worthy of celebration. It is a day that the people of a nation should look back at the achievement made so far and what is left to be accomplished. Some countries have prospered tremediously since achieving independence while others have little or nothing to show for it. On no account must we forget those who fought for the freedom we enjoy. People sacrificed their lives for the freedom, peace and tranquility that we enjoyed today.
Omorodion Osula, Boston, USA

When the political clout of a nation is under a handful of wealthy tycoons, independence won't mean democracy to the masses
Shib SenChaudhury, Calcutta

When the political clout of a nation is under a handful of wealthy tycoons, independence won't mean democracy to the masses. A similar environment has developed in post independence Mozambique. Most of the politicians and even President Armando Guebuza belong to the higher class of the society. Manipulated with corruption, the leaders have only looked after their personal welfare whereas the ongoing saga of suffering peasants due to famine and epidemic diseases is on rise.
Shib SenChaudhury, Calcutta, India

Independence really meant a lot to the people who fought for it. But unforfunately today, not many men would take swords to fight the British rulers had they known what would be happening after the so called Independence!
Monyoro Alex, Sudanese in Australia

For many of us Africans independence meant the passport to revert to age old tribal/religious wars and destruction of property.
Aminu Wouba, Kumba, Cameroon

Independence in Africa is like a tree in a desert. Yes we wave our flag at the UN but our government is built around personalities. We have economists and yet we are at the mercy of donor countries. It is sad we only know how to eat fish and do know how to catch it.
Makonnen, USA

I was born 10 years after my country became independent. In my opinion, independence came much too late for the greater majority of African nations. By this time the influence and values of the colonialists were deeply embedded and had reshaped our cultures and moral values. Indeed they are the basis of our political, education, legal, religious and even economic systems. Imagine a wagon loaded with every imaginable valuable African resource. It is being driven by a white colonial master destined to his country of origin. Independence succeeded in changing the driver and his crew, replacing them with Africans. Unfortunately the train tracks still lead to the former master. What Africa needs is to rebuild the tracks and change their destination.
Gonza Kagwa, Uganda

Our country has been created from Berlin. A colonial language has been chosen for my education. A foreign name has been imposed on me. My village is almost independent for foods but imports all other manufactured products. My country is among the poorest of the world. We are pleading for aid and debt cancellation. We rarely elect our leaders. What independence have we got?
Justin Hategekimana, Pittsburgh, USA

3000 years of independence did nothing postive for Ethiopia and the rest of Africa should have noted this.
Liban, Ethiopia

For me independence has revealed the African's inability to govern himself. I lived in the Gold Coast where gutters were cleaned daily religiously, mails were delivered punctually, mosquitoes were combacted. Schools were few, but standards were high. Roads were not many, but well maintained. Independence has ushered in bombardment of half-baked political ideologies that have made Ghana, and Africa the ridicule of the world. Now our leaders go cup in hand begging for crumbs from the much maligned western nations.
Nikoi Kotey, USA

Independence from what? Hong Kong still wanted to be a colony. Now its become a political pawn. Then again India was also a former colony and they seem to have gotten their economic act together. The corrupt do nothing but stuff their pockets. Its time to grow up and fix our own problems.
Juha Koivu, Canada

In my region in northeastern Kenya national celebration during independence days are marked by mere speeches by provincial administrations and locals participation are normally low, this due to marginalizing by successive government. Real independence in Africa could only be realized when resources of nation are equally distributed to the people.
Yussuf Dayib Ali, Nairobi, Kenya

I always feel ashamed when I hear people talking about celebrating independence day
Kapinga Ntumba, Harare

In many African countries people sacrified their lives because they were told that with independence they'll have the right and freedom to decide their destiny. Unfortunately those heroes have been betrayed, because what we are now experiencing with our corrupt leaders is worse than what our forefathers experienced with the colonial powers. I always feel ashamed when I hear people talking about celebrating independence day. Are we Africans independent?
Kapinga Ntumba, Harare - Zimbabwe

Kwame Nkrumah once warned, "Political independence, without economic independence, is but an illusion." The plight of Zimbabwe - as well as many other African countries - demonstrates the truth of that adage.
Makumba Letswo, Zimbabwe

How about independence when all the riches that we ought to enjoy is in good hands of the ruling of the rulers of the world today. Were it not for Africa I guess the super powers would not be what they are today
Unknown, UK

What does independence mean to me? It is just a word because there is no real independence as long as we have dept to pay,corruption to vanquish, illiteracy to get rid of.
Semhar Abrham, Eritrea

Independence means gaining autonomous power from the colonial masters, but in countries like Nigeria it has become moving from colonial rule to mafia rule
Festus Iyare, Boston USA




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