“The colonists usually say that it was they who brought us into history: today we show that this is not so. They made us leave history, our history, to follow them, right at the back, to follow the progress of their history. Today, in taking up arms to liberate ourselves, in following the example of other peoples who have taken up arms to liberate themselves, we want to return to our history, on our own feet, by our own means and through our own sacrifices.” Amilcar Cabral
Over a year ago, I was contacted by Mike Costa, a gentleman who was making a documentary on Cape Verdeans in California, and their history in relation to their homeland. The gentleman really liked my article on Amilcar Cabral and wanted my contribution. I was delighted to help in any way possible. Two months ago, I received an e-mail with a link to the trailer to the documentary which was coming out in the US. I must admit that this made me extremely proud to have helped (in any way) in his project, and most importantly to see the final product which is truly a praise of Cape Verdeans in the bay area, and Cape Verdeans in general. Enjoy the trailer… and if you have a chance, leave a comment on his website ProudTobeCapeVerdean.com or under his YouTube video or buy the DVD to show your support of his great work. This is a non-profit endeavor that shines a well-deserved light on the California Cape Verdean community. Like he says on his website: ” If we don’t tell our story, who would?”
January 20th marks the anniversary of the death of Amilcar Cabral, the father of the independence of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde. As such, I just thought about leaving you with some of his most famous quotes. Enjoy!
“A people who free themselves from foreign domination will be free culturally only if, without complexes and without underestimating the importance of positive accretions from the oppressor and other cultures, they return to the upward paths of their own culture, which is nourished by the living reality of its environment, and which negates both harmful influences and any kind of subjection to foreign culture. Thus, it may be seen that if imperialist domination has the vital need to practice cultural oppression, national liberation is necessarily an act of culture.” Amilcar Cabral, “National Liberation and Culture” Lecture delivered on February 20 at Syracuse University as part of the Eduardo Mondlane Memorial Lecture Series. Eduardo Mondlane was the first President of the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) who was assassinated by Portuguese agents on Feb. 3, 1960. historyisaweapon.com
“We must practice revolutionary democracy in every aspect of our Party life. Every responsible member must have the courage of his responsibilities, exacting from others a proper respect for his work and properly respecting the work of others. Hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories…” Amilcar Cabral: tell no lies, claim no easy victories
“Educate ourselves; educate other people, the population in general, to fight fear and ignorance, to eliminate little by little the subjection to nature and natural forces which our economy has not yet mastered. Convince little by little, in particular the militants of the Party, that we shall end by conquering the fear of nature, and that man is the strongest force in nature.” Amilcar Cabral: Tell no lies, claim no easy victories
I was quite shocked to learn of the ‘passing’ of Cesaria Evora… It hurts… the barefoot diva, the lady who sang ‘sodade‘ and ‘Angola‘, is no longer. The lady who started singing in her later days, and gained stardomship at the age of 50+, the lady who always performed barefoot on stage is no longer. She exemplified endurance and perseverance. Someone else could have given up… someone else could have said ‘there is no point singing, if I can barely make a living’. She knew all of that, but she also knew that she had a gift for singing and bringing the morna (Cape Verde music) to the international scene. She sang, and went on worldwide tours in her late 60s… giving concerts, etc… at an age when most people would have retired. She was truly an example of strength, confidence, endurance and perseverance. Her life was really all about endurance!
She lost her dad at the age of 7, and was placed in an orphanage at the age of 10 by her mother who could not raise all her 6 children. She started singing at the age of 16 in a sailors’ tavern. She won international acclaim for her album ‘La Diva aux Pieds Nus‘ in 1988, and the album ‘Miss Perfumado‘ released in 1992 sealed her international aura. In 1997, she won the Kora All African Music Awards for best Artist of West Africa, Best Album, and Merit of Jury. In 2004, came the Grammy in the world category (such a silly category… mixing musicians from Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America in one pot… unthinkable) for her album ‘Voz D’Amor‘. Keep singing, and check out her website Cesaria Evora, a video biography on BBC, An article by the Guardian newspaper, USA Today, NY Times, LA Times, So long Cesaria, we will keep singing ‘sodade‘ and dancing the morna, praising ‘Angola‘ and ‘Cabo Verde.’
Amilcar Cabral est à mes yeux, tout comme Thomas Sankara, un des rares visionnaires qui ait foulé la terre africaine. Il s’est battu pour l’indépendance et l’union de la Guinée Bissau et du Cap-vert qui, à l’époque, étaient des colonies portugaises. Après des études d’agronomie à Lisbonne au Portugal, Amilcar rentre en Guinée comme fonctionnaire en 1952. Jugé dangereux, il est muté en Angola (il y passera 1 an), et décide à son retour de fonder le “Parti Africain de l’indépendance de la Guinée-Bissau et des îles du Cap-Vert (PAIGC)”. Il oeuvrera si bien que malgré son assassinat le 20 Janvier 1973, la Guinée Bissau obtiendra son indépendance quelques mois plutard. J’ai trouvé une très belle interview qu’ Amilcar avait donné à un journaliste francais où il parle des raisons pour lesquelles la Guinée Bissau et le Cap-vert devraient être indépendants. C’est dommage que son rêve de voir ces 2 pays unis ne se soit pas réalisé, mais la Guinée Bissau et le Cap-Vert lui doivent leur indépendance. (Durant la guerre d’indépendance, il se faisait souvent appellé par son nom de guerre: Abel Djassi). Sa photo est encore aujourd’hui sur les billets de banque du Cap-Vert.
Amilcar Cabral, Fundador da nacionalidade Caboverdeana e Guineense. Nasce em Bafatá, Guiné, 12 de Setembro 1924. 1945: Com uma bolsa de estudo, ingressa no I. S. Agronomia, em Lisboa – 1950: Termina o curso e trabalha na Estação Agronómica de Santarém – 1952: Regressa a Bissau, contratado para os S. Agrícolas e Florestais da Guiné – 1955: O governador impõe a sua saída da colónia; vai trabalhar para Angola; liga-se ao MPLA – 1956: Criação em Bissau do PAIGC – 1970, 22 de Novembro: O governador da Guiné-Bissau decide e Alpoim Calvão chefia a operação de “comando” “Mar Verde” destinada a capturar ou a eliminar os dirigentes do PAIGC sediados em Conacri: fracasso! – 1973, 20 de Janeiro: Amílcar Cabral é assassinado em Conacri.
Le journaliste Alain Foka de RFI a également consacré une de ses emissions à Amilcar Cabral, sur le plateau de “Archives d’Afrique.” For more information, check out wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Am%C3%ADlcar_Cabral), http://www.amilcarcabral.org/ and http://www.umassd.edu/specialprograms/caboverde/acaddress.html