Photograph: Ricardo Campos
When the historian Mustafah Dhada heard about a massacre in his homeland Mozambique he was a young man already living in London. He read about it in a newspaper article, like everyone else, but he did not feel it the same way
The place where the Portuguese colonial troops had murdered at least 385 people on the 16th of December 1972, Wiriamu, was very similar to his home village, Búzi. Wiriamu could have been Búzi. From a distance, he felt guilty, responsible somehow. More than 40 years after the Wiriamu massacre, he has managed to finish his book about that day. In his field work he interviewed survivors and heard their stories, research has left him with manifestations of vicarious Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
He has rewritten the book 65 times. In it he includes a list of names. “The dead should not lie in mass graves, they should have a trench of their own in a library of the world where their souls are guarded in indelible words”. Dhada is still awaiting acknowledgement from the Portuguese authorities that the massacre happened, he is hoping that Portugal will follow the example of other countries that had colonies and where atrocities took place.