Article from ROAPE Volume 33 Number 109
Lifescapes/Governance: Régulo System, Central Mozambique

Lifescapes and Governance: The Régulo System in Central Mozambique
Vol.33 No.109 (Sept 2006), pp449-466
In many subsistence economies, local people rely on forest resources to provide varying levels of goods (Byron, 1997) and continued access to these resources allows basic needs to be fulfilled (Sen, 1981). The link between local communities and forest resources is emphasised by Howorth (1999:17), who argues that it is local people who create landscapes, they produce nature and it is the people/people relationship in a local place that is the critical variable. People and places are thus intimately interconnected. In Central Mozambique, régulos (chiefs) play a pivotal role in the relationship between people and place. The Régulo mediates the relationship between the material world and the spirit world, the present and the past, and works alongside the curandeiros (traditional healers) to provide healing and protection from witchcraft. Respect for the primacy of the régulo is based on people's belief in the ancestors, and in the legitimacy of the régulo as both' intermediary between the community and ancestral spirits, and at the same time as judge' (Serra, 2001:13). .