Friday, September 11, 2015

Mozambique Historical Archives receives estate of Portuguese

Mozambique Historical Archive (AHM) yesterday received the estate of José Tristão de Bettencourt, Governor-General of the former Mozambican colony from 1940 to 1946, from the Mario Soares Foundation in Portugal.The ceremonial hand-over of the boxes containing the estate of Tristão de Bettencourt, including correspondence, statistical information, financial data and photographs, took place in the Historical Archives of Mozambique in Maputo, which will also house scanned copies of all the documentation."It is a crucial period because it is World War II," noted Alfredo Caldeira, representing the Mario Soares Foundation. Cited by the Portuguese news agency Lusa, Caldeira emphasized the value of the collection, which includes an account of a fistfight between a pro-German and a pro-British at the Hotel Polana in Maputo, as well as letters from former consuls of the belligerent powers.Caldeira noted that the story of the Governor Bettencourt's estate began six years ago with the intervention of the former Science Minister Mariano Gago, who decided to gather and process the information and send it to Mozambique, a job then taken up by the Mário Soares Foundation."It is essential that we continue our cooperation," said Caldeira, adding that "our common history, for better and for worse, must be preserved, and a lot of missing information, in both Portugal and Mozambique, recovered.
clubofmozambique"The Director of the Historical Archive, Joel das Neves Tembe, pointed out that this is the kind of initiative encouraged by the International Council of Archives, and said he hoped that the Tristão Bettencourt documentation would be of interest to students and researchers and that collaboration with Portuguese institutions would be maintained.Das Neves Tembe recalled the delivery to the Mozambican Archives of an eighteenth century estate, and the archives of the International Police and State Defence (PIDE) deposited at the Portuguese Archive of Torre do Tombo, and expressed his desire to gain access to declassified overseas files from the 70s decade soon.José Augusto Duarte, the Portuguese ambassador, said that "this collaboration between Portugal and Mozambique, this time through the Mário Soares Foundation, shows that diversity of contacts, not only between states but also between civil society organizations and private institutions, is absolutely fundamental."The Mário Soares Foundation has dedicated itself to the collection and preservation of documentation on the recent history of Portugal and its former colonies, and holds considerable documentation on the Mozambican painter Malangatana Valente Ngwenya, the Timorese resistance, the founder of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), Amilcar Cabral, and the former leader of the Movement of Liberation of Angola (MPLA), Mário Pinto de Andrade.

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