Mozambique: ‘We Exist’ – Photographic Project Sees Maputo’s Marginal ‘Others’ Stepping Boldly Into the Spotlight

A series of four articles examine issues of policy, laws, rights, culture, popular culture, language, stigma, crimes, discrimination and individual experience of the queer community in four African countries.

On a balmy day in October this year, the front lawn of Maputo’s German Cultural Centre was a hive of activity as a small team of people went about assembling an outdoor exhibition. Caio Simões de Araújo, who headed up the team, remembers inquisitive folk walking by — “actually coming over, asking us, ‘Where are these pictures from?’ Because they don’t really imagine that this exists in Maputo, you know. They don’t really know.”

Titled “Outros Corpos Nossos (Other Bodies of Ours)”, the exhibition — which also served as the launch of the eponymously titled book — was, certainly by Mozambican standards, not run-of-the-mill art world fare. It featured images of Maputo’s marginal ‘others’ — the city’s queer folk.

By way of introducing the project, the book’s sleeve notes read: “Other Bodies of Ours follows a group of queer artists and activists as they carve out for themselves a space in the world, and in the city. The texts, photographs, portraits and testimonies comprise a living and lived archive of queer…


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