Visuality and Diasporic Dynamism: Goans in Mozambique and Zanzibar

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Gupta, Pamila


African Studies, Volume 75, p.257–277 (2016)



Capital Art Studio, Goans, Mozambique, Ricardo Rangel, Zanzibar


This article engages Goan diasporic dynamism in littoral East Africa – Mozambique and Zanzibar, respectively. It begins by considering a series of images taken by Mozambican photographer Ricardo Rangel, that of a rural Goan fishing community living across the bay from Lourenço Marques (present day Maputo), in the small village of Catembe in the early 1970s on the eve of Portuguese decolonisation. It then places this photo archive in dialogue with one compiled by Ranchhod Oza, of Capital Art Studio in Stone Town, Zanzibar, with a focus on his visual representations of a minority Goan community during the 1950's that took up positions as tailors and bakers (and photographers) in this urban setting that was once a thriving centre of cosmopolitanism and global trade. That both of these communities are the product of Indian oceanic circuits of exchange mobility will suggest the role that understudied minority communities had in forming port cities scattered across littoral Africa. Using these visual bodies to think about intersections and divergences of representations of Goan-ness in two distinct locations and timeframes, the article brings new cultural forms, i.e. the visual, to the fore for elaborating on the (Goan) African everyday, expressive moments captured on film.

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