One needs to only glance through the well-researched book entitled Donas, Senhores e Escravos[Porto: Afrontamento, 1995), authored by José Soares Martins, alias José Capela, to realize that from the late 18th century a growing number of Goan families sought adventure and fortune in the Portuguese East African (vaguely identified as Zambezi region) markets of gold, ivory and slaves.
Some of these adventurers have are listed and identified by Peregrino da Costa in his A Expansão do goes pelo Mundo (Nova Goa, 1956) as mozungos of Macanga (Pereiras) and Bongas of Massangano (Cruzes). One famous among them was Manuel Antonio de Sousa from Mapusa. He had set up several aringas (fortified posts) of his own on the right margin of Zambezi River. His strategy was to entrust them to his black nhanhaswith whom he lived in turns during his military rounds. He was decorated for his services by the Portuguese crown in Lisbon in 1887, but was captured and killed by the English during a frontier dispute in 1891. The Portuguese Government erected a monument to his loyalty at the entrance of Mapusa in the last decade of the colonial regime, but was soon blown up by the freedom fighters.
The whites, the mulatoes and the Indians bearing Mozambican nationality are probably no more than 1% of the total population and concentrated in the urban areas. The Indians bear some unpleasant representations, which make of them in Mozambique and the rest of East and South Africa somewhat similar to the Jews in European history. They bear socially offensive nicknames, namely baneanes(hindus), monhés (muslims) and canecos (Goan Catholics).
It is often forgotten that the Portuguese set up the Goa Medical College following the independence of Brasil. That was meant to help colonize Africa by taking advantage of the centuries’ old tradition of tropical medicine that had served well the colonial troops and servants that landed in Goa. Had it not been for the Goan doctors who fight malaria and other endemic diseases, Africa would have continued for long as a ‘white man’s grave’.
The Goan diaspora to East Africa was also made up by native priests who served the Mozambican prelacy, particularly after the suppression of the Jesuits in 1759 and the other religious orders after 1832. D. Altino Ribeiro Santana became the first bishop of Sá de Bandeira( Lubango) in 1955. The medical and clerical expatriates probably spurred their Goan relatives to migrate. Among these we can count some who contributed to the decolonization process in Mozambique, like Aquino Braganza and Oscar Monteiro.
The reason for the appointment of Bishop Altino Ribeiro de Santana to the diocese of Beira in 1972, following difficult relations of his two Portuguese predecessors with the Salazar regime remains unclear. It was during his very short term that lasted just one year, that Mozambique witnessed the infamous massacres of Mucumbura and Wyriamu in mid December 1972.
I had the fortune of discussing these issues and the violence against satyagrahis in Goa with Fr. Adrian Hastings at a meeting in Berlin, a couple of years before he died (VideHerald, 25 April 2011)
The role of D. Altino as bishop in Portuguese Africa is yet to be studied. Following the long anti-colonial stance adopted by the Portuguese bishops Rezende and Vieira Pinto in Beira and Nampula, why was D. Altino afraid to take a position and denounce the evil of the Portuguese colonial rule, limiting himself to giving refuge to two priests who denounced the massacres?
Was he scared of the ultra-conservative whites? That is what I was given to understand by his brother priest Orlando, whom I met in Lisbon during months following the untimely death of Bishop Altino. A recent study of the Church in Mozambique under the Estado Novo by Pedro Ramos Brandão (Lisboa: Editorial Notícias, 2004) has not mentioned even a word about bishop AltinoRibeiro de Santana. We know nothing either about the positions adopted by the bishop in the ongoing anti-colonial war in Angola.