verandahs. Common spaces of buildings became trash dumps (Anon. 1981). Journalists
played up stories of simple Mozambicans baffled by the use of bathtubs and flushing
toilets, and children who relieved themselves everywhere except where they were sup-
posed to (Manuel 1985). Housing officials despaired of the threat to public health, and
the damage to what they considered the nation's patrimony.
(Jenkins 1990, 2011). It wasn't just the pounding of cornmeal contributing to the phys-
ical decline. The generalized collapse of the Mozambican economy following the Por-
tuguesewithdrawal resulted indireshortages,includingshortagesofbuildingmaterials.
In Maputo, nails and cement mix and tools became scarce items (Tembe 1987). At the
same time, when coal or cooking gas was short (which was often) cooking fires were
often fueled by the wood of parquet floors (Ribas 1983).
And conditions continued to worsen. The decade of the 1980s was among the most
trying in Mozambique's modern history. Apartheid South Africa bankrolled an anti-Fre-
limo insurgency, called Renamo, fueling a catastrophic war. Hundreds of thousands fled
from the countryside to Maputo, seeking protection from the violence. The population
of the city roughly doubled between 1980 and 1997 (Henriques 2008) and the capital
and its shantytowns took on the character of a crowded refugee camp. Overwhelmed
by the influx, Frelimo embarked in 1983 on a draconian program to purge Maputo of
“unproductive elements”—people who could not prove they had formal employment.
Tensofthousands ofpeople lacking the properdocumentation andwhocould notreturn
to the rural homes from which many had fled were “evacuated” to remote provinces to
work on state farms (Castanheira 1983a; 1983b; 1983c; Naroromele 1983).
hardship, gave up its socialist program, and adopted the market reforms imposed by the
the rent structure was adjusted to more closely reflect perceived market demand (Car-
Those who were able somehow to hang on during the brutal winnowing of Maputo
erties to their occupants, and tenants, in turn, either sold or rented their apartments (Jen-
who came with the dizzying array of United Nations agencies and nongovernmental or-
ganizations that descended on Maputo, many after the end of the war with Renamo in
1992 (Hanlon 1997). Until then, living in the City of Cement had been a dubious lux-