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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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Sana Na N’Hada1


Sana Na N’Hada was born in Enxaléin Guinea-Bissau in 1950 and studied film at the Cuban Institute for Art and Cinematography in Havana and in Paris. He headed the National Institute for Cinema of Guinea-Bissau between 1979 and 2006. His works include the feature films Xime (1994) and Kadjike [Sacred Bush] (2014) as well as the documentary Sans Soleil [Sunless] (1983), which he co-directed with Chris Marker. In collaboration with Flora Gomes Sana Na N’Hada is working on the project Luta Ca Cabra Inda [The Struggle is Not Over Yet], shown in 2012, that tries to collate material made after independence that was lost or damaged during the political upheavals in later decades.

Q. What does nation mean to you? How have the various cultural identities in Guinea-Bissau influenced the idea of how the nation was formed?

A. For me, a nation is a group of people, who have shared a specific place historically and who have the same political and economic interests, common language(s) and a homogenous way of interacting.

The various cultural groups in Guinea-Bissau participated to varying degrees in the independence process, where the idea of a nation was born, according to their present interests as well as their historical background.

All these people, the settled and the nomadic ones, who have been living together for quite a long time in the present-day Guinea-Bissau, have adopted creole as their common language, which during the independence...

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