Back from Germany, Workers Demand Promised Wages in Mozambique

Every Wednesday, dozens of Mozambican citizens march in the main streets of the capital city, Maputo, wearing German flags or raising them in their hands. They are called ‘Magermans’, meaning those who returned from Germany. For more than 20 years they have been protesting for outstanding wage claims from the post-independence period when the socialist government sent about 18,000 Mozambicans to former East Germany.

When they left their country, following the declaration of independence in 1975, they were sent “for training, for jobs, and to learn skills to rebuild “, a video by Adam Thomas explains:

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, many returned. They didn't find what they expected and have been protesting ever since.

An article by Louise Sherwood on IPS News points that “the workers received 40 percent of their salaries in cash while the other 60 percent was sent back to Mozambique”:

A [2002] document, in possession of the Magermans, released by the German Federal Ministry of Finance, shows that 74.4-million dollars in salaries and 18.6-million dollars in social security were paid by the former GDR, figures which equate to approximately 5,000 dollars per worker. The Mozambican government accepted that a much smaller amount was owed and began to make payments of 10,000 t0 15,000 Meticais (or between 370 to 550 dollars) to some of the workers.

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