José Craveirinha

Mozambican writer, José Craveirinha was born on May 28th 1922, in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), and died on February 6th 2003, in South Africa. His father left Algarve, his home land, and went to Mozambique in 1908 searching for a better life.

Craveirinha studied in the «Primeiro de Janeiro» school, linked with the Masonry. As a teenager, he started frequenting the African Association. He contributed to the publication O Brado Africano (The African Call), which dealt with subjects concerning mainly the unprotected populations. He campaigned against racism in the newspaper Notícias (News), where he worked, being the first journalist who was official member of a union. In 1958, he began working in the National Press.

He remained at Notícias until the foundation of the newspaper A Tribuna (The Tribune), in 1962. Between 1964 and 1968 he was detained, because of his liaison with FRELIMO, which opposed to the government party, RENAMO, but he had the chance to meet the painter Malangatana in prison.

He started writing early in his life, but his poetry took long to be published. In Lisbon, the first work that was printed was Xigubo, in 1964, through the Empire Sudents's House. From a given time, his work began to reflect his political consciousness, in works such as O Grito e O Tambor (The Scream and The Drum).

José Craveirinha is a poet who suffered the influence of surrealism, revealing a very popular nature. His poetry has a social nature based on the deeper strata of the Mozambican people. Emotionally linked to Portugal, he won the Camões Prize in 1991 and was distinguished by the presidents of Portugal and Mozambique, Jorge Sampaio and Joaquim Chissano respectively.

He is vice-president of the Bibliographical Fund for the Portuguese Language and was honoured with the “Literary Career” award by the Mozambique Writers’ Association. The Mozambican government paid homage to the author on May 28th 2002, in the context of the Mozambican government’s initiative to dedicate the year 2002 to José Craveirinha.