Gaining Independence in 1975, Mozambique’s government proclaimed a progressive approach toward women’s liberation, seeing it as essential for the continued success of the revolution. Stephanie J. Urdang, who traveled often to Mozambique, examines women’s status there ten years later, talking with women in factories and fields, village co-operatives, and state farms. Urdang produces an inspiring yet sobering picture of how African women continued to struggle for their survival and their liberation. Drawing on scholarly research as well as first-hand investigation, And Still They Dance says much about the daily lives of women living in independent Mozambique after the revolution. Although they may have gained formal independence, these women still needed to overcome obstacles of class, gendered division of labor, underdevelopment, and—during the reign of South African apartheid—external aggression on the part of the South African-sponsored MNR proxy army. Urdang shows us a country rife with contradictions and tells the stories of the women who continue to struggle on numerous fronts for a better life.
Much of the power and importance of And Still They Dance derives from Urdang’s refusal to puree the complexities of Mozambique into a smooth soup. Rather she allows the reader to feel the conflicts and contradiction in the stories women tell of their own lives… Urdang’s moving yet restrained narrative recounts dizzying acts of courage…a path-making book.