The spirit underneath: development, race and moral economy in Central Mozambique
Abstract Since 2007, Tete, a province in central Mozambique, has been experiencing an economic boom. Multinational mining companies are exploring one of the world’s largest - and virtually untouched - coal deposits. Led by Brazilian-based multinational Vale, the controversial billionaire investment plans caught the attention of international NGOs and cooperation agencies that flooded Tete province with development and democracy-building projects. Meanwhile, the inhabitants of Tete are suspicious. People in Tete have encountered various exogenous populations since pre-colonial times and are extremely familiar with the methodology of development organizations. However, the current "developmental and democratic times" pose an intriguing question to them: can we develop? To clarify this existential question - that has deep spiritual and racial implications - the article discusses the nature of inter-ethnic political community in the Zambezi Valley, correlating it with the region’s pre-colonial and colonial history.