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Voices, Languages, Discourses

Interpreting the Present and the Memory of Nation in Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and São Tomé and Príncipe


Edited By Ana Mafalda Leite, Jessica Falconi, Kamila Krakowska, Sheila Kahn and Carmen Tindó Secco

This volume brings together a selection of interviews with writers and filmmakers from Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and São Tomé and Príncipe in order to examine representations and images of national identity in the postcolonial narratives of these countries. It continues and completes the exploration of the postcolonial imaginary and identity of Portuguese-speaking Africa presented in the earlier volume of interviews Speaking the Postcolonial Nation: Interviews with Writers from Angola and Mozambique (2014).

Memory, history, migration and diaspora are core notions in the recreation and reconceptualization of the nation and its identities in Cape Verdean, Guinean and São Tomean literary and cinematographic culture. By assembling different generations of writers and filmmakers, with a wide variety of perspectives on the historical, social and cultural changes that have taken place in their countries, this book makes a valuable contribution to current debates on postcolonialism, nation and identity in these former Portuguese colonies.

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Odete Semedo


Maria Odete da Costa Semedo was born on 7 November 1959 in Bissau. She studied languages and modern literature at Lisbon’s Universidade Nova. After returning to Guinea-Bissau in 1990 she has served as minister for Education and Health between 1997 and 1999 and 2004 and 2005 respectively. She was president of the National Commission for UNESCO – Bissau and she is also the co-founder of Tcholona, Letters, Art and Culture Magazine. She translated the script of Flora Gomes’ film Olhos Azuis de Yonta [Yonta’s Blue Eyes] into creole. She completed her PhD As mandjuandadi – cantigas de mulher na Guiné-Bissau: da tradição oral à literatura [As mandjuandadi – women’s songs from Guinea-Bissau: from oral tradition to literature] at the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais (Brazil) in 2010. Her poetry includes the collections Entre o Ser e o Amar [Between Being and Loving] (1996); Histórias e Passadas Que Ouvi Contar [Stories and Histories That I Heard Being Told] (2003) and No Fundo do Canto [At the heart of the Song] (2007). She writes in Portuguese and creole.

Q. Odete, could you talk a bit about your work?

A. I’m not teaching anymore, because my work in the ministry is enough, I work in the Ministry of Education, which covers pre-school to higher education, I’m a state secretary for higher education and scientific research, but, even so, the amount of work is enormous.

I have some of my own work, which is almost ready,...

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