“Havemos de Voltar”/ “We Shall Return” by Agostinho Neto

Agostinho Neto
Agostinho Neto

Today, I would like to share a poem by one of Angola’s most prolific writer and its first president, Agostinho Neto. This poem, Havemos de Voltar” / “We Shall Return, speaks to all people, and all times.

field_champBack when this was written from his prison cell in Lisbon, the poem symbolized the return of lost sons, of exiles, of freedom fighters, and the return to their homeland, their loved ones, and the re-attribution of their resources back to them. Today, the message means pretty much the same: a return to liberty (African countries’ freedom from the oppressors), economic freedom (FCFA, the slave currency), and even freedom to all immigrants around the globe who run away from their country because of poverty, war, etc. So to all those seeking a return to peace, to love, a return home, here is Agostinho Neto‘s message.

Havemos de voltar

Às casas, às nossas lavras
às praias, aos nossos campos
havemos de voltar

ÀS nossas terras
vermelhas do café
brancas de algodão
verdes dos milharais
havemos de voltar

Às nossas minas de diamantes
ouro, cobre, de petróleo
havemos de voltar

Aos nossos rios, nossos lagos
às montanhas, às florestas
havemos de voltar

À frescura da mulemba
às nossas tradições
aos ritmos e às fogueiras
havemos de voltar

À marimba e ao quissange
ao nosso carnaval
havemos de voltar

À bela pátria angolana
nossa terra, nossa mãe
havemos de voltar

Havemos de voltar
À Angola libertada
Angola independente

We shall return

To the houses, to our crops,
to the beaches, to our fields
we shall return

To our lands
Red with coffee
White with cotton
Green with maize fields
we shall return

To our mines of diamonds
Gold, copper, oil
we shall return

To our rivers, our lakes
our mountains, our forests
we will return

To the shade of the mulemba
To our traditions
To the rhythms and bonfires
we shall return

To the marimba and the quissange
to our carnival
we shall return

To our beautiful Angolan homeland
our land, our mother
we shall return

We shall return
to liberated Angola
independent Angola.

From Sacred Hope – Poems by Agostinho Neto, published by the Angolan Writers Union, 1986, sponsored by the National Bank of Angola. Translated to English by Marga Holness.

2 thoughts on ““Havemos de Voltar”/ “We Shall Return” by Agostinho Neto

  1. I was actually looking for Agostinho Neto’s ‘February’ which is probably the one I like most
    among Neto’s poems. That said, now that I’ve read Havemos de Voltar, I am struck by the
    calm defiance and evocative patriotism expressed by the author. And they did return.


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