• collapsed futures;
  • house-building;
  • Mozambique;
  • socialist ideology;
  • urban time

This article explores how urban temporalities in Maputo, Mozambique's capital, erupt from collapsed futures, which endure within the present as traces of that which will no longer be. The argument is built on an ethnographic analysis of kuzama utomi (‘trying to make a life’), a temporal trope, which pre-figures the future as a failure on a linear scale. Still, although it is identified by its collapse, the future wedges itself within the present as a trace of that which will never be. While manifesting the efforts needed in order to reach a desired objective, it also exposes the powers at work that inhibit its eventual realisation.