“Ilha” de Amilcar Cabral / “Island” by Amilcar Cabral

Amilcar Cabral
Amilcar Cabral

January 20th, 2013 marks 40 years since the murder of the Father of Bissau-Guinean and Cape-Verdean independence: Amilcar Cabral.  Africa today is still mourning the loss of one of his greatest sons.  I thought it would be nice to publish one his poems.  Yes… Amilcar Cabral was not just an agronomic engineer, or an independentist, or a freedom fighter, he was also a nature lover and a great writer.  Enjoy! One can already guess that the following poem is about the island of Cape Verde. (The English translation was taken from, ”AMILCAR CABRAL, Freedom fighter,1924-1973“, by Carlos Pinto Santos)


Tu vives — mãe adormecida —

nua e esquecida,


batida pelos ventos,

ao som de músicas sem música

das águas que nos prendem…


teus montes e teus vales

não sentiram passar os tempos,

e ficaram no mundo dos teus sonhos

— os sonhos dos teus filhos —

a clamar aos ventos que passam,

e às aves que voam, livres

as tuas ânsias!


colinas sem fim de terra vermelha

— terra bruta —

rochas escarpadas tapando os horizontes

mas aos quatro cantos prendendo as nossas ânsias!



Mother, in your perennial sleep,

You live naked and forgotten

and barren,

thrashed by the winds,

at the sound of songs without music

sung by the waters that confine us…


Your hills and valleys

haven’t felt the passage of time.

They remain in your dreams

– your children’s dreams –

crying out your woes

to the passing winds

and to the carefree birds flying by.

Island :

Red earth shaped like a hill that never ends

– rocky earth –

ragged cliffs blocking all horizons

while tying all our troubles to the winds!


One thought on ““Ilha” de Amilcar Cabral / “Island” by Amilcar Cabral

  1. Pingback: Women of Africa by Sekou Touré | African Heritage

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