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Postcolonial Nation and Narrative III: Literature & Cinema

Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and São Tomé e Príncipe


Edited By Ana Mafalda Leite, Hilary Owen, Ellen Sapega and Carmen Tindó Secco

This volume investigates literary and cinematographic narratives from Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Sao Tome and Principe, analysing the different ways in which social and cultural experience is represented in postcolonial contexts. It continues and completes the exploration of the postcolonial imaginary and identity of Portuguese-speaking Africa presented in the earlier volume Narrating the Postcolonial Nation: Mapping Angola and Mozambique (2014).

Memory, history, migration and diaspora are core notions in the recreation and reconceptualization of the nation and its identities in Capeverdian, Guinean and Saotomean literary and cinematographic culture. Acknowledging that the idea of the postcolonial nation intersects with other social, political, cultural and historical categories, this book scrutinizes written and visual representations of the nation from a wide range of inter- and transdisciplinary perspectives, including literary and film studies, gender studies, sociology, and post-colonial and cultural studies. It makes a valuable contribution to current debates on postcolonialism, nation and identity in these former Portuguese colonies.

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The Prayers of Mansata by Abdulai Sila: Performing the Postcolony (Elena Brugioni)


Elena Brugioni

The Prayers of Mansata by Abdulai Sila: Performing the Postcolony


Addressing the critical discussion intrinsic to the debate on contemporary African theatre, the aim of this article is to analyse As Orações de Mansata [The Prayers of Mansata] (2007; 2011) by Abdulai Sila, counterpointing the text with the play produced by Cena Lusófona – Associação Portuguesa para o Intercâmbio Teatral, under the direction and the dramaturgy of António Augusto Barros within the scope of the Project P-Stage. The analysis will offer a reflection on the relationship between dramatic text and visual performance, underlining different critical problematizations of the visual and narrative agency suggested and contained by the text/play.1

Context and Questions of Genre

In the preface to the 2011 edition of As Orações de Mansata [The Prayers of Mansata] (Sila 2011) – a text published by Cena Lusófona under the auspices of the P-Stage Project – Russell Hamilton states that Abdulai Sila’s work represents ‘the first theatre play in Guinea-Bissau to be written and also one of the first post-Independence plays in the whole of Africa’ (Hamilton 2011: 9–12). This fact allows us to highlight some important←103 | 104→ epistemological questions, connected, in my opinion, to the apparent absence, scarcity and marginality of the theatre and performative genre in the African continent, and therefore in the respective national literary systems. This in turn prompts a reflection on critical and operational paradigms related...

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