Aline Beatriz Miranda da Silva

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Brasilia, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10499

Approve Date

April 6, 2023

Project Title

Miranda da Silva, Aline Beatriz (Brasilia, U. of) "Indigenizing assimilation: the innovative naming practices in Gaza (Mozambique)"

All human societies assign names, thus classifying people, objects, places, and relationships. Particularly in African contexts, classifying systems are intrinsically associated with postcolonial dynamics in young nations. In order to contribute to the study of these processes, I want to explore how people in the Mozambican province of Gaza renovate their naming practices as a result of the assimilation of the Portuguese language and personal names. Gaza is an exceptional place because it is a region mostly occupied by native speakers of the Changana language (and not Portuguese). Nevertheless, we observe a proliferation of names of Lusophone origin. Furthermore, the region has a peculiar history with regard to Portuguese colonialism. The former Kingdom of Gaza (1821-1897) became known in history as the center of political power in southern Mozambique and of great resistance to Portuguese colonialism. This history is present in the imaginaries of the people currently living in Gaza. In this sense, the region offers us an exceptional perspective of the underlying problem of the innovative naming practices. This context incites us to think how assimilation can be treated as an ethnographic object not from the standpoint of cultural loss or extinction, but from the perspective of indigenization.