Madjermano(e) ou Madgerman s.m. 1. ex trabalhador na RDA. Vem do inglês ‗german‘ (que significa alemão) para o Changana e só depois passa para o Português de Moçambique. Na língua Changana, o prefixo -ma é marca do plural. Sendo assim, madjermano/e seria sinónimo de germanos, ou melhor, alemães. Portanto, o processo de formação aqui presente é a hibridização: prefixo (ma-) do Changana + nome (german) do alemão. 2. Às vezes encontramos Madgerman, erradamente, como nome derivado de “Made in Germany”.

- (....) This is the name given to over twenty thousand Mozambican citizens, who for a time lived, studied, and worked in the former German Democratic Republic and returned to Mozambique in 1989, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany.
When they set out for Germany, they were guided by the light of hope that they would become the future Mozambican élite. But, naïve as they were, they had no idea they were little more than an offering from the gods of a country capable of being wonderful, full of marvelous people, wild animals, rich palm groves, maning nice beaches, natural and mineral resources, and authentic cultural diversity; a country that hadn’t been taught by its fathers to be worthy of such abundance.
Tightly clasping their German IDs and all the rights these afforded them, they studied with dedication and worked with all the goodwill and sacrifice of those who aim to advance, raising their families with life-generating solidarity. In the name of a better existence – both present and future - about 60% of their salary was withheld, along with other social security contributions and wired to the Mozambican government, or so they were told. They would be reimbursed upon retirement, when they returned home.
The Wall came down. Germany was reunified. But their contracts were terminated and the Mozambicans disbanded. For some, repatriation was experienced as duress, for others, the time had come to sample the wine squeezed from the sweet grapes their dedication had sown, their sweat had watered, and their hope would obviously reap. (...)
The Madgermanes are considered one of the most active groups in Mozambican civilian society. In a corner of the garden, German flags are quite visible to all, standing alongside the increasingly wrinkled faces and the voices of these men, who, to pass the time, chat about all sorts of things: the country, the world, life, inevitably touching upon the scars of a wound no less intense than the respect they hold for one another and for their ideals. Here they cook, they eat, they drink, but most importantly: they continue to dream. Every day many people walk through the garden, sit at length in the shade, meet the Madgermanes, or even clash with them when, on Wednesdays, they take to the streets, but the truth is that these people are ignorant of their story, nor do they feel the need to know. They can’t imagine the extent of the living archive of a chapter of the country’s history standing there, making a living or wasting a life -
    EXTRACT FROM the introductory text Jardim dos madgermanes: a patria que os madgermanes criaram - by Obedes Lobadias



 Some of the 100 portraits of this project


  ISIDRO FERNANDO NHAVELE - Who knows him?
 He was in the GDR in the years between '80 and '90 (working) in the paper factory
in Dresden (Papier Fabrik). Please contact Mister Baloi


- (...) Antes de mais, é preciso dizer que saímos daqui que eramos crianças (bebés).  Nós, só conhecíamos o mundo da mãe e do pai e dos nossos avós. A primeira dificuldade foi, primeiro, deixar a família, e depois ir para um lugar onde a cultura era diferente.
Além disso, havia também o alemão para aprender. Alguns de nós sabiam um pouco de inglês, mas a maioria de nós só sabia português. Com o passar do tempo instalámo-nos: depois das aulas de alemão tivemos turnos de quatro horas para aprender como funcionavam as máquinas. Aprender a usar máquinas foi bastante difícil, tivemos de prestar atenção à pessoa responsável que nos dizia « Esta máquina é para limar, esta é para cortar..» e decorar tudo. Antes de mais, porém, era preciso saber alemão. De facto, após essas quatro horas de demonstração, regressámos às aulas de alemão.
Vínhamos de um país totalmente diferente, que era também um país socialista, mas com um nível de desenvolvimento diferente. E acima de tudo, vínhamos de um clima diferente... (risos).
No trabalho foi importante o encontro com tantas pessoas que nos confortavam e nos deixavam à vontade... havia muitos trabalhadores, alemães e não alemães, que eram mais velhos e nos tratavam como crianças, dando-nos conforto.
O momento mais bonito era certamente quando chegavam as cartas de Moçambique. Era uma festa. Também escrevíamos cartas e enviávamos fotografias tiradas com os nossos amigos. Não faltavam ocasiões para celebrar, a festa de 1 de Maio, alguns casamentos... Nessas ocasiões ouvíamos a mesma música que ouvíamos em Moçambique e combinávamos estas cassetes com outras músicas de outros lugares. Costumávamos reunir-nos para celebrar e matar saudades da família, o que para algumas pessoas era muito forte. Mesmo quando as cartas chegassem, alguns choravam.
De qualquer modo, havia sempre a ocasião para uma festa, uma cerveja aqui, uma cerveja ali... mas faltava sempre alguém, porque as empresas tinham turnos e alguém era obrigado a trabalhar.
Tínhamos boas relações com os Alemães e os Polacos. Havia apenas um limite: por vezes tinham inveja de nós porque as mulheres olhavam para nós. Não faziamos nada, a questão é que dançavamos melhor do que eles, eram os anos daquela música ao estilo de Micheal Jackson um pouco funky e nós dançavamos bem, e as mulheres gostavam disso. Não podiamos evitá-lo.
E depois havia um lugar com música pesada e gente maluca, estilo punk. (disco de confusão mesmo) Quando lá fomos, olharam para nós como se fossemos extraterrestres e não pudemos comunicar muito. Até tive uma namorada alemã, e... basta pensar... o pai dela era um pouco antiquado e um pouco racista, e ele era também o meu patrão (risos). Mas com o tempo, encontrámos um bom compromisso. Havia muitos alemães que eram realmente boas pessoas e muitos deles sugeriram que ficássemos após a unificação e disseram-nos: « Vais voltar para África para fazer o quê? » - .
- (...) First of all, I should say that when we left we were like babies. All we knew was the world of our mom and our dad and of our grandparents. The first difficulty was, first of all, to leave our family, and then to go to a place with a different culture.
Besides that, we also had to learn the German language. Some of us spoke a little English, but the majority of us only spoke Portuguese. As time went by we settled in: after our German classes, we had four-hour shifts to learn how the machines worked. Learning to use the machines was quite difficult, we had to pay attention to the person telling us: « This machine is for filing, this one is for cutting...» and memorize everything. First of all, however, you had to understand German. In fact, after those four hours of demonstration, we were sent back to our German lessons.
We came from a totally different country, which was also a socialist country, but with a different level of development. And above all a different climate... (laughs).
As for the work, it was very important for us to meet many people who comforted us and put us at ease... there were many workers, German and non-German, who were older than us and treated us as if we were their children, giving us comfort.
The best moments were certainly when letters arrived from Mozambique. It was a celebration. We also wrote letters and sent photos taken with our friends. There were plenty of occasions to celebrate: May Day, a few weddings… On these occasions we listened to the same music we listened to in Mozambique and we mixed these tapes with other music from other countries. We got together to celebrate and to dispel our homesickness, which for some people was very strong. Some even cried when the letters came.
In any case, occasions to party always arose, one beer here, another beer there... but there was always someone missing, because the companies had shifts and someone was forced to work.
Our relations with the Germans and the Poles were good. There was only one drawback: sometimes they were jealous of us because their women looked at us. We didn't do anything, the point is that we danced better than them, those were the years of funky Micheal Jackson-style music and we danced to it very well, and the women liked that. We couldn't help it.
Then there was this place with harsh, punk-style music and crazy people. (disco de confusão mesmo) When we went there, they looked at us like we were aliens and we couldn't communicate much. I even had a German girlfriend, and... can you imagine... her dad was a little old-fashioned and racist, and he was also my supervisor? (laughs). But in time we managed to find a good compromise. There were so many Germans who were really good to us and many of them suggested we stay after the unification and said: « What are you going back to Africa for? » - .
From Sergio Albasini's interview
- (...) Eu era muito jovem. E, quando recebi a informação de que iria para Alemanha senti que a minha vida iria mudar e tive a imagem de um lugar onde aprenderia e trabalharia para mudar a minha vida e da minha família.
Não, não foi difícil deixar a minha família pois esta tinha boas espectativas que me chegou a perguntar se eu queria e estava ou não preparada e eu respondi positivamente, afinal dentro de mim sabia que ia em benefício nosso e do país. Viajei de avião e a viagem foi boa. Embora, no meu caso, me tenha sido fácil adaptar às novas casas, novos hábitos e costumes e ao clima, foi difícil e pesado lidar com a indústria e as máquinas, mas com o andar do tempo fui me enquadrando.
Tive uma boa relação com os outros colegas e nos meus tempos livres, passeava pela cidade, conhecer lugares e vi- sitava outros irmãos noutras províncias. Estávamos lá vietnamitas, cubanos, russos, nigerianos, argelinos, etc, ainda que em maior número moçambicanos. Caso recebesse o valor (risos), realizaria os meus sonhos, mudava o meu visual que foi desgastado lá e levantava a família que também ficou embaixo e desgastada.(...) - .
- (...) I was very young. And when I was told I would go to Germany, I felt that my life would change and I had the image of a place where I would learn and work to change my life and my family’s.
No, it wasn’t difficult to leave my family, because they had great expectations and they even asked me if I really wanted to and if I was ready or not and I answered positively, after all in my heart I knew that it was for our good and for the country’s. I traveled by plane and the trip was good. Though for me it was easy to adapt to a new homes, to new habits and to the climate, it was difficult and tough to deal with the work and the machines, but in time I was able to fit in.
I had a good relationship with my colleagues and in my spare time, I walked around the city, I got to know new places and I visited my brothers in other provinces. There were Vietnamese, Cubans, Russians, Nigerians, Algerians, etc., but more Mozambicans. If I receive the money (laughs), I would make my dreams come true, and raise the family that has been ruined(...) - .
From Angela Lubrino's interview


MARCHA

ONCE WERE COLLEGUES

Hoyerswerda '91

Once were collegues is a series of 15 portraits, intertwined with personal statements and personal archive photos, dealing specifically with the Mozambican GDR workers who were part of the Hoyeswerda community. The Mozambican community of Hoyeswerda is symbolic of the rise and fall of the Mozambican Madgermanes. It was in this town that "Group 1", the first group of Mozambican workers in Germany, arrived. Stimulated and blessed by the visit of Samora Machel himself, many workers here began a journey steeped in personal and collective expectations, along the path of integration proposed by socialist internationalism. Until the tragic epilogue. Surprised by the new course of events that followed reunification, many ended up being victims of various racist incidents until the final riot.
Interviews by Julia Oelkers.
Interviews done by Julia Oelkers.

Paulino Chavana

David Macou

Samora Machel visits Hoyerswerda in 1980
Geraldo Paunde

Zefanias Dlaze

Eduardo Wique

Jardim dos Madgermanes