In the early 1970s, Mozambique was still under colonial rule. Then, in April 1974, political upheaval in Lisbon, Portugal resulted in a coup within the Portuguese military and the dictatorship in Portugal was overthrown. This had a ripple effect on the colonies, including Angola and Mozambique. The Lusaka Accord was signed in September of that same year, marking the first steps towards decolonization.
A few months later, on February 10, 1975, the Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO), still in charge today, made an official announcement through its Ministries of Information, Internal Administration, and Labour. They declared that carnival Tuesdays would no longer be a holiday, and any “carnivalesque” displays in public were banned. This rule brought an end to an era where people could freely explore their sexuality and gender identity. It had been a time when sexual and gender experimentation was common, providing a platform for a diverse queer community and offering a safe space for those identifying as trans.
A research study about the carnivals titled Carnival, Power, and Queer Joy: Chrono-normativity, Carnivalesque Transgressions, and the Spectacle of Gender in Lourenço Marques, Mozambique (ca. 1950–1975) was published in 2023 in the Nordic Journal of African Studies (Vol 32, no 3) by Caio Simões de Araújo and the Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, South Africa.