Cartoon published by the Mozambican Liberation Front’s Office of Mass Communications in 1976
Xiconhoca: this figure was created by the post-revolutionary socialist state as a key means of mobilising moral and political critique of corruption in the service of the new postcolonial nation. It had a second life in the era of AIDS and access to HIV treatment in Mozambique as a means of reflecting not only on new forms of corruption, but also the experience of taking anti-retroviral treatment on an empty stomach.
The “Xiconhoca” caricature was an embodiment of the ‘enemy of the revolution’. His key feature was a protruding gut, which emphasized his greed, symbolizing the illegitimate accumulation and corruption that threatened to undermine the newly decolonized nation. Designed and published by the Mozambican Liberation Front’s Office of Mass Communications in 1976, the serialized Xiconhoca comic satirized the politics of consumption and corruption, providing a vehicle for humour and critique in the hard times that followed a long and bloody civil war. In Katrina Spencers words, ‘The character’s name captures images of violence, trickery, and betrayal: “Xico” coming from an infamous law enforcement officer, Xico-Feio, and “nhoca” meaning “snake” in many indigenous languages in southern Africa’