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 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. This in turn prompts a reflection on critical and operational paradigms related
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A couple days later, I posted about this very exciting book of love and emerging political awareness in a countrybeginning to challenge Portuguese colonial rule. Less than a week later I received an advanced copy from Dedalus Books. The Ultimate Tragedy was published in April and in a few days — July 2 nd — the book will be launched at Africa Writes. After 5 years working as an electrical engineer I moved to computing.
The first was the death of a younger brother a few years after Guinea-Bissau gained independence from the Portuguese in One of my brothers — the one who was my best friend — was hit and he became paraplegic. He was about seven years old and he lived seven more years — he died after Independence.
I used to talk to him, so when he died I had nobody to talk to [anymore] about things that mattered to me, so I started writing a kind of journal everyday [and] I was writing to keep talking to him. I was explaining to him what happened. When that massacre happened in Soweto we decided, among other things, to write a kind of newspaper, magazine — a journal mural — that we put on the wall. I wrote a text that my teacher liked a lot.
And most of my friends too who read it at the time. I was writing my journal almost everyday and that information from one of the teachers … if the teacher says that I have good skills, then it must be true.
This I found remarkable. These were. Unfortunately, the President came and went before this request could be made. I realised that things that you think people should obviously understand, sometimes are not seen that way. I was getting a lot of information — some real and others just fiction. So I wrote my first novel that I never published. It was too personal, but I learned a lot writing that novel.
It was back in Still publishing his novels were not easy. It was hard for me to get published because I decided not to join the youth organisation, the party and so forth. At that time of the revolution — in a single party regime — everyone had to be member of the youth organisation otherwise you would be kept out. Having spent the last half hour speaking to him I was not surprised by his response. In I joined two other colleagues and we set up a small publishing house and we started publishing our own books.
Before that — before — everything was subject to censorship. When we started the democratisation process in [which ended in ], we had the opportunity to exercise freedom of speech, which means the possibility of publishing whatever you want.
This led to the creation of the publishing house, Kusimon , after the political liberalisation. Kusimon has a double meaning. The Ultimate Tragedy. This [The Ultimate Tragedy] is the second novel I wrote and I did it in a moment that was very special. People started to have a lot of trouble, a lot of people got killed, so I was worried about the future of this country.
At the same time, I was very disappointed with our lack of success. And they might question the meaning of becoming Independent. It makes no sense if we are not able to make it better.
It was not easy. It was not peaceful. It was with a lot of mistreatment and injustice [of people] … a lot of humiliation. This is the bottom line. As a citizen, I am glad that we have a breakthrough [from] not having a single novel translated into English.
I think it was , someone wrote to me asking for information about books — written or translated fiction — in English and we ended up finding out there were not a single novel from Guinea-Bissau published in English. It makes me feel a little bit unhappy about the thing.
At the same time, I think it is something I should be proud about. I also asked about how the opportunity to get it translated came about. It used a lot of African words [Creole, Fulani, Mandinka] and expressions so it was not an easy task for a non-Guinean to read it and understand … and I had no section to [explain it] — a kind of dictionary.
Some words you could not find in a Portuguese dictionary so I had to work very close with him [Soutar] to explain the meaning of some words and sentences. My father is Mandinka and I learned Mandinka too. So there are words and expressions that I use that come from this language. It [ Mistida ] was adapted in Creole, but it comes from Mandinka. Mistida has several meanings. It means business. It means friendship. It [also] means whatever you have to take care of you can call it.
It all depends on the context [in which it is used]. It was a tough time, but we overcame it. Today, we have been having tough times again in this country, but based on the knowledge we have from our history — our past fighting and resisting — we should feel that all the trouble we are having is just part of what we are fighting during all our history as a people.
So this book is remembering a little bit of the past. In remembering the past, The Ultimate Tragedy begins from the perspective of Ndani — a woman who is sort of cursed, and who leaves her village to find work as a domestic worker in the homes of the Portuguese colonialists in the capital. It was during our interview that I found out Ndani is not a real name. It was so similar to [the experiences of] so many people that a lot of people could say I am talking about their history.
For a similar reason — he did not want any one person to think it was about them specifically. People of my generation we witnessed the end of an era and beginning of another one full of hope, [but] after we became independent, we failed. Most of the things that we believed in, and we took as obvious simply did not happen. So one of the missions, let me call it mission, of people of my generation is to transmit some sort of hope.
Make people believe that there is still room for hoping in the future. We may be in a very complicated situation. We may go through a lot of undesirable situation, but after all we need to keep our hope alive — not for ourselves but for the younger generation. It is why most of my characters, they show a lot of hope in their day-to-day lives. They may be having a lot of troubles, difficulties, but hope should always be present. Ndani believed in love, she found someone she could love and got love from.
This is my view of life. Trouble, yes, but always hope! While she may have been the central character, Ndani was not the only character in this story whose perspective we get to read. There was also the Regulo the chief who had a passion, a desire to liberate his people from the colonials, as well as Teacher — a gentle Christian whose story turns quickly from nice and simple to tragic.
One of the things Cabral taught us is never mix the colonial power — the Portuguese colonial power — with the Portuguese people. The Portuguese people as a people are our friends. We have to fight the system. The system is oppressing us, but we should differentiate these two things.
One is the system and another is the people. He [Teacher] was motivated to do his job, but he had to confront his students who kept asking him about real life. You see the conversation he had with his students, asking him to tell them about the things they see — not only things that are in heaven. So they made him adapt. They were all educated by mostly Italian priests and at a certain moment you start seeing reality — not only what you are taught.
A lot of politicians who came into power after independence, they were [also] all taught by priests. They went to Evangelic or Catholic church — they were educated there, but what happens is that art a certain moment, they realise that one thing is what they were taught and another is what they were seeing. Most of them wanted to go to Angola or Mozambique. To Guinea-Bissau were sent criminals or those who had no other means to pay for their ticket. These Portuguese men and women are represented through Dona Deolinda, and her husband who had a penchant for sexually assaulting maids in his home in the capital, as well as the administrator in the village ruled by the Regulo.
All Dona Deolinda wants was to have people [Africans] capable of reading the Bible and taking over the mission. And Google I did! You know, I am committed to this country and to Africa in general. People cannot imagine what it is like being independent. Not being subject to humiliation by the colonialists. To be in your own country and to be citizens of your own country.
So this is what moves me. I have a passion. Fighting for the improvement of … to make it simple, development of Africa in general. Contact All Events.
An Interview with Abdulai Silá
It was inevitable: compiling a list as monstrous as this would consume time, cause a delay. But here we are. A new major publishing house came on board: The Indigo Press, founded by the distinguished Zimbabwean editor and critic Ellah Allfrey. Bissau-Guinean writer Yovanka Paquete has penned an essay about the lack of visibility for Lusophone writers, both in Africa and on the global scene, in contrast to their better-known Anglophone and Francophone counterparts. It really is.
He moved to the capital, Bissau, to complete his school studies and then to Dresden, Germany, to complete a degree in Power Engineering. He currently lives in Bissau and combines telecommunications work with writing. Jethro Soutar is a translator of Spanish and Portuguese. The Ultimate Tragedy. Abdulai Sila. The Ultimate Tragedy is a tale of love and emerging political awareness in an Africa beginning to challenge Portuguese colonial rule. The mistress of the house, Dona Deolinda, embarks on a mission to save Ndani's soul through religious teaching, but the master of the house has less righteous intentions.