Introducing Memories at Low Altitude by Mozambican Security Chief Jacinto Veloso
A story of war and peace in Mozambique and beyond, Memories at Low Altitude spans four decades of southern African history, from the point of view of one of its main protagonists. Jacinto Veloso participated in the Mozambican liberation struggle and served in Samora Machel’s cabinet after independence, when the region was dominated by civil war and the conflict between East and West.
Veloso’s story covers many fascinating issues of this period, among them: the conflict between FRELIMO and the South African-backed RENAMO; the negotiations that resulted in the Nkomati Accord, in which he was a key participant; the processes that resulted in the withdrawal of Cuban and South African troops from Angola and the independence of Namibia; the impact of post-independence Mozambique’s strictly socialist economy and its subsequent shift to a more market-orientated approach; and the aeroplane crash in which Samora Machel was killed.
Velosa’s insights are particularly interesting given his role in the commission of inquiry into the crash.
About the author
Jacinto Veloso was born in Lourenço Marques (today Maputo). In the 1950s he studied at the Military Academy in Lisbon, where he qualified as an aviation pilot. In 1963, together with João Ferreira, Veloso abandoned Mozambique, piloting a Portuguese Air Force plane to Dar es Salaam and becoming a member of the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO). He participated actively in the national liberation struggle and accomplished risky missions abroad. After independence he became National Director of Intelligence Services and Minister of State Security. He has also served as Minister for Economic Affairs, Minister of International Cooperation and Minister of Information. In 2005 he was elected by Parliament as a member of the National Defence and Security Council.