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GRANDE HOTEL, 2011 Since the Grande Hotel was completed in 1954, it has stood as a monumental symbol of Portuguese colonial rule in Mozambique. Yet this Art Deco hotel, once the biggest in Africa, never attracted the upper-class clientele it was intended for, and closed as early as 1963. Today, after independence and civil war, the dilapidated hotel is occupied by about 2500 Mozambiqueans who systematically strip the building of everything of value – from crystal chandeliers to floorboards. What remains is a concrete ruin now in danger of collapsing – a ‘white elephant’ – the name given to a building that had never been accepted by the local population – in a modern Mozambique that is attempting to break free of its long colonial history. Dir.: Lotte Stoops / The Netherlands: Grande Hotel, 2011


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