During the Cold War, state-led education exchange programmes between post-colonial states and the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) were common. The biggest such project, the School of Friendship (SdF), sent 899 Mozambican children for socialist-inspired schooling in the GDR. By the time they returned to Mozambique in 1988, the transition from socialist-revolutionary state to capitalist society was under way. This article discusses the legacies of socialist education, focusing on the lives of some of those who spent the decisive years of adolescence in the GDR. The narratives give insights into the contradictory social reality of this historical period, showing how the SdF equipped the participants with 'modern' virtues that became vital for their future lives, but which had also become largely obsolete by the time they returned to Mozambique. The SdF could thus be judged as a highly politicized programme where children were treated as pawns in a wider political game, while at the same time new horizons opened for its participants. © The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal African Society. All rights reserved.
Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms
- Global Development Institute