The Zambezi region, in Mozambique, has hosted several strong female figures. Among these the wife of the Maravi karonga had jurisdiction over part of a territory where female chiefs also existed. The wives of the Mwenemutapa had their own territory and served as ambassadors of the emperor. Perhaps the best-known female figure in this region is the Dona: the female landowner, who received land as part of a land granting system called prazo instituted by the Portuguese crown around the 16th century. While conducting fieldwork on the memory of women of authority in Zambezia I have also encountered memories of forewomen at work for lessee Companies' industrial structure, as well as evidence of women counsellors to the samassoas, the local chiefs at the service of the colonial government structure. Despite a body of evidence of female
power and authority, historical texts still misrepresent, underrepresent or ignore women in authoritative roles. By systematically ignoring women's power and authority in history or relegating them to a secondary plane, historians have not done justice to the social, political and economic structures and inner workings of the Zambezi social complex and authority structures.

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