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Struggles in Peacetime. Working with ex-combatants in Mozambique: their work, their frustrations and successes.

van der Merwe, Hugo
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) Amsterdam: Netherlands institute for Southern Africa in co-operation with the CSVR (South Africa) and ProPaz (Mozambique).

Form an image when you hear any of these words: “ex-combatant”, “war veteran”, “former combatant”, “ex-fighter” or “demobilised soldier”. Admit it: chances are that the imagery will not be very flattering. Due to their involvement in violence during the war, they are invariably portrayed as prone to violence and criminally inclined – in
short, a menace to society in one form or another. Taken from a website relating to a publication on the Mozambican peace process, the following quote is quite telling: “Five years after the ending of the war, and three years after elections, many ex-fighters continue to nurse grievances due to the few economic opportunities open to them and the lack of recognition of their contribution to the war and the suffering they endured. This said, the process of reintegration has been relatively successful and most fighters do not pose an immediate threat to their local communities.” One hardly ever comes across stories that tell a more complete picture. ‘Struggles in Peacetime’ is an attempt to do just that. Based on interviews with more than 40 former combatants in Mozambique and a number of other relevant actors, we want to begin answering some of the questions that hardly ever get asked: what do the lives of ex-combatants really look like? How are they coping in post-war society? What roles do they envisage for themselves in their communities or society at large? What are the actual roles they are already performing? (excerpt)


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