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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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Rafael Branco


Joaquim Rafael Branco was born on 7 September 1953 and he is known as a politician first and foremost. He served as Minister for Foreign Affairs between 2000 and 2001 and Prime Minister for São Tomé and Príncipe between 2008 and 2010 and he was also the president of the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe (MLSTP). Branco has served as ambassador for his country to the UN, US, Canada and Brazil. As a writer he is best known for his novels Makuta: antigamente lá na roça [Long Time Ago on the Plantation] and Léveléngue: As Gravanas de Gabriela [Léveléngue: Gabriela’s Dry Seasons], which won an honorary mention in the SONANGOL competition (literary prize sponsored by Angolan oil company Sonangol) in 2005. He was editor for the newspapers A Nova República between 1991 and 1994 and O Correio da Semana between 2005 and 2010.

Q. How is your own trajectory intertwined with the history of your country?

A. In various ways, I think, is my life marked by what has been happening and still is happening in my country. I’m the son of a Portuguese father, a poor man – it’s important to say this, because that also had a great impact on my life – and a mother from São Tomé. My father left São Tomé, but I have to say that while he was here, he did look after...

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