A luta continua

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A luta continua (in English: the struggle continues) was the rallying cry of the FRELIMO movement during Mozambique’s war for independence. The phrase is Portuguese (the official language of the former Portuguese colony) and was used by FRELIMO leader Samora Machel to cultivate popular support against the Portuguese colonial presence.[1]

Machel became the first president of an independent Mozambique in 1975 and continued to use the phrase a luta continua as an unofficial national motto. Posters bearing the phrase can still be found on the walls of Maputo, the nation’s capital.[2][3]

Use in popular media[edit]

The phrase has also been used as the title of a 1971 film on the struggle for Mozambican independence[4] and as the title of a Mozambique-inspired song popularized by South African singer Miriam Makeba and written for her by her daughter Bongi after she attended the independence ceremony of Mozambique in 1975[5][6] and then released on the album Welela in 1989.[7]

In addition, the phrase appears at the end of the credits to four films by American director Jonathan Demme:

Use by activist movements[edit]

The phrase appeared on T-shirts worn by LGBT rights activists at the funeral of David Kato in Uganda in 2011.[8]

A luta continua is also widely used in Nigeria by students and activists. Protests, riots, and other actions to demand for the rights of Nigerian students are termed as "Aluta". It is the motto of the all-Nigerian Students Union across all academic institutions of higher education. It is generally given in full: "A luta continua; a vitória é certa", meaning "The struggle continues; victory is certain".

Increased usage of the term has also been noted during the 2016 South African Fees Must Fall protests.


  1. ^ "Mozambique celebrates costly freedom" BBC News
  2. ^ “Mozambique rethinking its dreams” New York Times
  3. ^ Mozambique
  4. ^ “A luta continua” AllAfrica.com
  5. ^ "A Luta Continua on VARA television, 1979"
  6. ^ “Mama Africa” Weekly Al-Ahram Archived May 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "New York Times Review"
  8. ^ "Scuffles at funeral of Uganda gay activist". Reuters. Jan 28, 2011.