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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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Where Is Cabral? Postnational Culture and Liberation in Nha fala (Mark Sabine)


Mark Sabine

Where Is Cabral? Postnational Culture and Liberation in Nha fala


This reading of Flora Gomes’s Nha fala (2003) considers the recurrent and troubling presence, in a story of the diasporic existence of a rising generation of West Africans, of the memorial bust of Amílcar Cabral. In a world where the African ‘dream’ of the postcolonial nation has succumbed as much to enforced economic deregulation as to clientism and corruption, how might one return to the path Cabral sets out? This essay identifies, in the film’s generic conventions and musical content, a suggestion of updating Cabral’s theory of culture and liberation, providing both a critique and strategy of resistance to a new, post-national and globalized ‘empire’. Music of African origin features in the film both as an organic and communicative popular practice, and as cultural property appropriated and commodified by globalized capital. Vita’s journey – through Europe and her discovery of her voice and musical creativity – affords her victory both over an ancient superstition and over the alienation, through cultural imperialism, of the postcolonial subject.

This reading of Nha fala investigates how Flora Gomes’s brilliant film weaves a parable of courage to challenge convention and affirm love, in an attempt to ‘reanimate’ the collective memory of the architect of Guinea-Bissau’s independence. This reanimation involves a fundamental questioning of the value of commemorative acts, as well as the state of the nation as a postcolonial political project in twenty-first-century Africa. The...

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