Accepted paper:

Violence, rumour and elusive trust in Mocimboa da Praia, Mozambique


Ana Margarida Sousa Santos (ICS-ULisboa)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will address the lack of trust in the aftermath of riots in Mocomboa da Praia, Mozambique, by looking at rumour and the ways people value and trust information in unstable environments.

Paper long abstract:

Following riots in 2005 the political leaders of Mocimboa da Praia in northern Mozambique began a joint effort to bring together the parties involved in the conflict and bring peace to the town. However, in spite of their efforts, in the months that followed the riots rumour and contradictory gossip seemed to be the norm and the threat of more violence loomed large in the town. Lack of trust in news and information became the norm, as did the reliance on old networks of friends and relatives for more reliable information. These networks were often defined along ethnic, political and religious lines, and fragmented the fabric of the town. Based on fieldwork conducted in Mozambique between 2005 and 2007, drawing in particular on participant observation, and extensive interviews, I will discuss the elusive nature of trust which follows sudden violence. I will also address the role and relevance of continuous, and often contradictory, spreading of rumour as a deterrent to the establishment of peaceful trust relationships between the various parties involved in the violence, and the ways in which different sectors of the population value and trust news and gossip during unstable times.

panel G20
Trust in super-diversity