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Modern Slavery and Water Spirituality

A Critical Debate in Africa and Latin America


Ineke Phaf-Rheinberger

This book contains close readings of contemporary literary texts and art work by Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking authors from Africa and Latin America. The readings reveal a critical debate that understands reflections on the slave trade and current migrations from Africa to Europe as continuity since early modern history. This part of cultural history is firmly rooted in the Black Atlantic, although the book’s primary concern is a discussion of situations in which water spirituality functions as a backdrop. This critical inquiry of social inequality and injustice is based on a theoretical framework that addresses migrations overseas and forced labor. Therefore, the readings are placed within the cultural tradition of seven countries: Brazil, Angola, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Principe, and Guinea-Bissau.

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Chapter 6: Creoles from Cape Verde


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Chapter 6: Creoles from Cape Verde

The Atlantic Ocean is a primary reference point for the literature of Cape Verde. Elisa Silva Andrade explains in “Le Cycle de la mer”340 that, because it is difficult to feel where one belongs to, the Atlantic Ocean functions as the mythical Atlantides. In addition, Dina Salústio, in “Insularité, évasion et résistance”,341 affirms that the relationship with Africa and also with the color “black” remains a complex issue in the context of this oceanic link.

The editor of the volume “Insularité et littérature”, in which these essays are included, is Manuel Veiga, who was the Cape Verdean Minister of Culture from 2001 to 2011. Being a linguist, Veiga wrote standard works on Kabuverdianu, the official name of the Creole language of Cape Verde since independence.342 In a book dedicated to thirty years of Cape Verdean independence, Uma visão prospectiva da cultura (A prospective vision of culture), Veiga summarizes the core of the country’s national identity:

We are Creoles, Creoles from Cape Verde. This is our unique primary condition. We are born out of the crossroad of blood and cultures. The anthropology of the islands emerged in the first place from the confrontation and, then, from the reencounter between Africa and Europe.343

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