Coolela Battlefield Memorial in Mandlakazi (Manjacaze)


By Contested Histories Initiative

This memorial commemorates the 1895 Battle of Coolela, fought in Mozambique between the Portuguese colonial administration and their African allies, and the Gaza Empire led by Emperor Ngungunyane. The monument was originally created by the Portuguese administration in the late 1890s to celebrate their victory and conquest and to honour the Portuguese lost in combat. It was destroyed following independence from Portugal in 1975, then rebuilt in the 1980s and restored in the 1990s and 2000s by the post-colonial state of Mozambique. The monument remains contentious as its significance depends on different understandings of the historical role of Portuguese colonials, locals and Emperor Ngungunyane, especially in connection to the creation of a Mozambican national memory.

For the case study click here.