Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

May 03 2011

Cape Verde: Unheard Stories from Marginalized Youth

The website For CV introduces a theatre and film project in Cape Verde called Mim’delo [pt]. According to the non-profit association behind it, 10 pt, Mim'delo aims to involve marginalized youth who “[struggle] to find their identity, space and voice under the pressure of poverty, the lack of job opportunities, crime, and drug addiction” .

April 20 2011

Memories of Portuguese Decolonization

“In their dreams they still revisit Africa”, and they share their memories on the blog Retornados da África [pt]. Read the stories of those who returned to Portugal from the African colonies, after the end of the dictatorship, on April 25th, 1974.

March 14 2011

Cape Verde: Country's Development in a Year of Elections

Written by João Miguel D. de A. Lima

Cape Verdeans headed to the polls to vote for Members of Parliament on February 6, and granted PAICV's (African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde) leader José Maria Neves his third 5-year term as Prime Minister. Here is a recap on how bloggers perceived the events and envision the development of the country.

Political Arena's Poles

Caricature made by Jornal da Hiena in 2010 and published at Café Margoso. The author allowed the use of the image.

Caricature made by Jornal da Hiena in 2010 and published at Café Margoso. The author allowed the use of the image.

Since 1991, when Cape Verde adopted the multi-party system, the PAICV and the MpD (Movement for Democracy) have been the two most influential political parties. Each party ruled the country for 10 years. Carlos Veiga, member of MpD, was the main candidate facing the Prime Minister in power, José Maria Neves.

Virgilio Brandão, on the blog Terra-Longe, shared an analysis [pt] of the results, which gave PAICV MPs an absolute majority of National Assembly seats. He considered that the way candidates dealt with the results reveals a country that, in spite of all its problems, including those within the political process, made the elections a legitimate feature:

O discurso de José Maria Neves foi de quem soube ganhar, e o de Carlos Veiga de quem soube perder. Em contraponto da campanha eleitoral, as declarações destes dois líderes […], ao se conhecerem os resultados oficiosos, qualificaram o processo eleitoral.

José Maria Neves' speech was that of someone who knew how to win, and Carlos Veiga's of one who knew to how to lose. In contrast to what was seen during the campaign, the statements by these two leaders […], when official results were released, qualified the election process.

For blogger Rony Moreira [pt], from Geração 20 J. 73, the political polarization “over the decades of MpD [rule] and the other 10 years of PAICV” was just a “languishing discussion”.

Challenges for Growth and Development

Rony Moreira looks at the country as a whole and argues [pt] on the reasons why the political event was so important:

A tarefa de governar Cabo Verde é tão grata, que muitos ainda não perceberam que o mais essencial e complexo neste processo de governação passa pela implementação dum equilíbrio frágil: como deve um país pobre, redistribuir a riqueza (produzida e doada) de forma a equilibrar a coesão social e ao mesmo tempo criar mecanismos económicos (como a infra-estruturação) que o capacita para a competição e desenvolvimento futuro.

The task of governing Cape Verde is so gratifying that many haven't yet realized that the most essential and complex aspect within this process of governance is the implementation of a fragile balance: how should a poor country redistribute wealth (produced and donated) in order to balance social cohesion and, at the same time, create economic mechanisms (such as infrastructure) to prepare it for competition and future development.

As a candidate, José Maria Neves promised to create a minimum wage and to tackle unemployment (different estimates range from 13,1% to 20,9% [pt]), but, once elected, he postponed these measures until 2012. Edy, blogger on Blogue di Nhu Naxu, says it was reasonable [pt]:

E já agora,este apertar de cinto não tem nada de surpreendente e nada de anormal: é que é mesmo necessário baixar o défice das finanças públicas.O país está a viver acima das suas possibilidades.

And now, this belt-tightening is not at all surprising and is not abnormal: it's indeed necessary to lower the public finance deficit. The country is living far beyond its means.

On another post, Rony Moreira isn't too concerned about the unemployment rate either, as he highlights [pt] that Cape Verde is making progress, with both its positive and negative factors:

[…] a ausência de recursos matérias valiosos; estruturas de mercado deficitário [na dimensão, no tecido empresarial; alto grau de dependência de investimento e de factores externos]; taxa de crescimento de habitantes residentes [nativos e estrangeiros] e subsequente aumento da população activa; continuação de aposta na formação e qualificação dos quadros jovens […]

[…] the absence of valuable natural resources; market structures in deficit [in general, among businesses; high level of dependency on external factors and investment]; population growth rate [among natives and foreigners] and the subsequent rise in active population; the ongoing investment in education and qualification of young people […]

Informal trader in Cape Verde. Original title: "cabo verde MAYO-06". Photo by roser.gilbert and published on Flickr, under a Creative Commons license (BY-NC-ND, 2.0).

In another post, Edy believes [pt] that Cape Verde's economic situation is understandable if we take into account global events:

[…] nem sempre é possível atingir o nível de crescimento económico desejável porque um governo não consegue controlar ou prever a evolução da economia internacional, do qual estamos dependentes, para o bem e para o mal […]

[…] it isn't always possible to reach our desired growth rate because a government cannot control or predict the evolution of the international economy, which we depend on, for better or for worse […]

João Branco, on the blog Café Margoso, wrote a post with personal considerations. He pondered that [pt] Cape Verde “is not walking towards the precipice, it isn't near total breakdown” as the opposition claimed, and nor is it “the pink-colored country the ruling party wanted to portray”.

Rony Moreira foresees challenges [pt] for the reelected Prime Minister, as solutions must be found to high unemployment rates and other national issues:

Ganha a eleição, há quem pense que esta será a mais fácil das legislaturas de Neves, e eu prevejo que seja a mais difícil e trabalhosa que o PAICV terá pela frente. Porque em 2016 alguns dos desafios terão de ser vencidos, caso da energia, educação, a redução para um dígito do desemprego e a habitação.

After his electoral victory, there are those who believe this will be the easiest term for Neves, while I foresee this will be the toughest and most difficult term the PAICV has to face. By 2016, some challenges must be solved, such as energy, education, reduction of unemployment rates and housing.

Democracy in Progress

Despite political preferences, Cape Verdeans expressed in the blogosphere their satisfaction with the election process. João Bosco was one of those bloggers, saying he is proud [pt] of Cape Verde's 20 years of democracy:

Vinte anos. Não é nada, numa perspectiva histórica. No entanto, o país que somos hoje mostra o quanto se avançou no domínio de uma plena democratização do arquipélago e da sua sociedade. Comparem o ontem e o hoje e vejam as diferenças abismais, o que já se conquistou.

Twenty years. In a historical perspective that's nothing. Yet the country we are today shows how far we have progressed towards a full democratization of this archipelago and its society. Compare yesterday and today and see the colossal differences, what has already been accomplished.

In just a few months' time, Cape Verdeans will have to put their country under scrutiny once again, with the upcoming 2011 Presidential Elections. As political figures rethink their strategies, citizens will have another chance to practice democracy and set forth the country they envision through their vote.

This post was proofread by Kitty Garden.

February 23 2011

A declaration of love to the Portuguese language, in all its variations

Written by Sara Moreira · Translated by Eleanor Staniforth · View original post [pt]

The  Portuguese language, spoken by more than 200 million people around the world, has often been described as the “fatherland” or “motherland” of the Portuguese-speaking world. On February 21 we commemorated International Mother Language Day, established by UNESCO in 1999. In a tribute to the Portuguese language in all its linguistic and cultural diversity, we invite you in this article to navigate through reflections from Portuguese-speaking bloggers, prompted by their reading of the first novel dedicated to the Portuguese language [pt], Milagrário Pessoal - the most recent work by the Angolan author José Eduardo Agualusa.

The title of this article was taken [pt] from the blog Mértola, in which Carlos Viegas writes that Milagrário Pessoal is:

uma declaração de amor à língua portuguesa, na sua multiplicidade de falares (…) uma viagem pela história da nossa língua, pelos locais e culturas que alimentaram a sua enorme riqueza.

a declaration of love to the Portuguese language, in all its variations (…) a journey through the history of our language, through the places and cultures which feed its great richness.
Foto: Lu Freitas no Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Photo: Manu Magalhães. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Portuguese is the official language of eight countries - Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe and East Timor  - in four continents - Africa, America, Asia and Europe. Thus, the language covers a vast area of the Earth's surface (7.2% of the planet [pt]), encompassing an extraordinary diversity of lives which is reflected in the variety of dialects. It is also the fifth most spoken language on the Internet, according to Internet World Stats, with around 82.5 million internet users. Deceased in June 2010, José Saramago - the only Portuguese-speaking winner of the Nobel prize for Literature - said that “there is no Portuguese language, but rather languages in Portuguese ” [pt]. The writer Agualusa, in an interview [pt] with the blog Porta-Livros, states that:

O português é uma construção conjunta de toda a gente que fala português e isso é que faz dele uma língua tão interessante, com tanta elegância, elasticidade e plasticidade.

The Portuguese language is a combination of all the people who speak Portuguese and it is this which makes it such an interesting language, with such great elegance, elasticity and plasticity.

The novel - or the “essay on the Portuguese language disguised as a novel”, as the journalist Pedro Mexia describes it in a critique entitled Politics of Language [pt] - simultaneously tells a love story and explores the processes of construction of the Portuguese language. Agualusa, again in the afore-mentioned interview, confesses to “greatly regretting the disappearance of certain beautiful words which fall out of usage” and shares the necessity and “obligation to prevent the death of these words”.

Poem by Fernando Pessoa: He who cannot fully perceive a word, can never fully perceive a soul. Photo: Lu Freitas on Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Poem by Fernando Pessoa: He who cannot fully perceive a word, can never fully perceive a soul. Photo: Lu Freitas on Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Rui Azeredo, from the blog Porta-Livros, explains [pt] that the “[love] story serves solely as a pretext for the author to pay homage to the Portuguese language” :

através de uma busca, por parte das suas principais personagens, dos neologismos do português. E bem encaixados no meio da história (…) surgem os neologismos, como uma aula na qual nem se repara, mas onde tudo se aprende. De Portugal a Angola, passando pelo Brasil e outros, corremos os olhos por jogos de palavras (novas e velhas, dependendo por vezes da geografia) bem lançados por Agualusa.

through a search by the novel's main characters for Portuguese neologisms. And neatly embedded in the middle of the story (…) we find the neologisms, as if in a lesson we don't even notice, but in which we learn everything. From Portugal to Angola, via Brazil and other countries, our eyes run over word games (both new and old, depending at times on the geographical situation) cleverly thrown in by Agualusa.

In a summary [pt] of Milagrário Pessoal, Bruno Vieira Amaral, from the blog Circo da Lama, considers that  “words have power, words are power”. Amaral comments on excerpts from Milagrário Pessoal - in quotes as fanciful as they are representative of the countries to which they refer - in which the Portuguese language serves as a vehicule for refractory, subversive and nationalist political practices:

Palavras também são poder, política no sentido mais lato. Podem significar insubmissão, como no caso do timorense que declamava sonetos de Camões. Podem significar afirmação nacionalista, como no caso das elites brasileiras que passaram a utilizar apelidos de origem tupi. Podem significar subversão, como o colonizado que pretende colonizar a língua do colonizador para assim o dominar.

Words are also power, politics in the broadest sense. They can reflect disobedience, as in the case of the Timorian who recited sonnets from Camões. They can reflect nationalist affirmations, as in the case of the Brazilian elites who began to use nicknames of Tupi origin. They can reflect subversion, like the colonised who seek to colonise the language of the coloniser in order to dominate him.

José Leitão, in the blog Inclusão e Cidadania, supports this view [pt]:

O romance contém pistas preciosas para uma política da língua, que merecem a atenção dos cientistas sociais, dos linguistas e dos responsáveis pela política da língua portuguesa.

The novel contains precious clues for a policy on language, which deserve the attention of social scientists, linguists and those responsible for policy relating to the Portuguese language.
Poem by Manuel Bandeira: Life did not come to me through newspapers nor through books/It came from the mouth of the people in the incorrect language of the people/Correct language of the people/Because it is the people who delight in speaking the Portuguese of Brazil/While in the meantime/What we are doing/Is mimic/The Portuguese syntax. Photo by Capitu on Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Poem by Manuel Bandeira: Life did not come to me through newspapers nor through books/It came from the mouth of the people in the incorrect language of the people/Correct language of the people/Because it is the people who delight in speaking the Portuguese of Brazil/While in the meantime/What we are doing/Is mimic/The Portuguese syntax. Photo by Capitu on Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

The reflections of Milagrário Pessoal's readers in the blogosphere at times broach the subject of the controversial Spelling Reform of the Portuguese language, which aims to unify and converge the different spellings used in each Portuguese-speaking country. In his interview with the blog Porta-Livros, Agualusa states:

Nunca como agora houve tanto movimento de pessoas e ideias entre todos os países de língua portuguesa. (…) E isso faz com que a língua se aproxime.

Never before has there been such a degree of movement of people and ideas between Portuguese-speaking countries. (…) And this means that the language comes closer together.

Pedro Teixeira Neves, of PNETLiteratura, quotes [pt] a passage from the book and asks:

«Escreve Moisés da Conceição que a língua portuguesa, sendo já africana na sua matriz, pelo demorado convívio pelo árabe, que muito a contaminou, necessita de enegrecer ainda mais, afeiçoando-se à geografia dos lugares onde estão os seus abundosos falantes. O nosso destino é o de nos engolirmos uns aos outros…» Resumindo, é pois, de algum modo, esta a temática-tese de fundo onde se inscreve a tinta ficcional deste romance. Crítica velada ao acordo ortográfico? Porque não entreler desse modo?…

“Moisés da Conceição writes that the Portuguese language, African in its matrix as a result of its prolonged cohabitation with Arabic which influenced it greatly, needs to darken still further, moulding itself to the geography of the places inhabited by its abundance of speakers. Our destiny is to swallow one another up…”. In summary, this is in some way the underlying thesis upon which the fictional side of this novel is overlaid. Concealed criticism of the spelling reform? Why not read between the lines in this manner?…

Offering no response to his question, Teixeira Neves states that ”language is a treasure” [pt] and concludes:

Um tesouro guardado não numa arca estanque dos povos que dele fazem uso (portanto, que falam essa Língua, o português), antes um tesouro que na sua diversidade geográfica e crescimento contínuo mais se enriquece e inflaciona. Em suma: a identidade da língua é múltipla, e tal facto não representa senão um acrescento, jamais uma subtracção. A língua é elástica, corpo vivo que se alimenta do tempo e dos tempos. A língua é uma contínua viagem de navegação por mares a cada dia nunca antes vistos ou adentrados.

A treasure held not in a chest sealed from the peoples who use it (thus, who speak this language, or Portuguese), but a treasure which in its geographic diversity and continual growth becomes richer and broader. In short: the language has multiple identities, and this fact can only represent an addition, never a subtraction. Language is elastic, a living body which feeds off time and times.  Language is a continual voyage through oceans never before seen or sailed.
"

Poem by Antonio Risério: “our raw material is the word. The word as a sound, as a sense, as a practice, as a password, as a cultural indicator, as cultural cement, as history, as an object, as a changing and changeable entity

Paula Góes contributed to the illustration of this article. All photos were taken from the Museum of the Portuguese Language, in São Paulo, Brazil.

January 21 2011

Lusophone Culture: Buala “Gives Voice” to Contemporary African Cultures

Written by Manuela Tenreiro · Translated by Melissa Mann · View original post [pt]

“An interdisciplinary web portal for reflection, critique and documenting contemporary Portuguese-speaking African cultures” is how Buala is introduced. In an interview with Global Voices, Buala’s producers Marta Lança and Francisca Bagulho discuss the grounds and justification for a space that grapples with culture, history, politics, the arts in general and the city – the space par excellence of “constant change,” the living stage for playing out contemporary culture.

Screen shot Buala.org

Buala.org

In 2010, two Portuguese women with years of experience in cultural production in Africa launched an “comprehensive project,” “[spreading] the will expressed by various African creators of culture,” which lead to their “discovering many other [creators of culture].” They introduced the project in Maputo, Luanda, studied Cape Verde and Portugal, opened a cultural association, secured seed money to start up operations and began collecting articles “in which quality and a certain thematic balance are essential.” “Subsequently, our job has been to maintain this same level of interest on a daily basis.”

So, they launched this “independent space” - Buala, a “place for long, in-depth articles that focus on serious, complex works that do not dispense with irony and with the urban cultures of an African youth and an African youth in the Diaspora that has much to say, with people who study Africa without historic blind folly and fantasy, who wish to contribute to reflections on (and with) the continent.” The site is available in Portuguese, French and English and is geared towards an international audience that may be getting to know contemporary Luso-African cultures and experiences for the first time. Yet, because it “seeks to foment mutual understanding and build bridges, ” Buala is essentially bidirectional.

Because Buala establishes the text- and image-based contributions it receives as its geography, the site visitor gets the sensation that all of Africa (not just Portuguese-speaking Africa) becomes lost in the world when it leaves its continental geographic limits. “The African continent is historically a continent of migrations. The impact of the slave trade to the Americas, of the late decolonization, is reflected in cultural and social frameworks that cut across various geographic contexts and that are worthy of discussion and reflection.”

Contemporary Africa is thus understood in transnational context.

Bwala, from the North Mbundu language, means house, village, a community where encounters occur. The orthographical shift to Buala was not for visual purposes, rather “to not focus solely on a specifically Mbundu word since we work under within a more international context.”

Global Voices Online: Tell us about the Buala project. How did the idea emerge?

Buala: The idea arose from our noticing that there was a paucity of recording and exposing interesting current cultural happenings in Africa and in the African Diaspora that were not laden with the nostalgia or unilateral perspectives that had dominated the cultural scene for so many years. Moreover, we felt that the production of knowledge concerning Africa was not reaching the countries of Africa nor was knowledge circulating as it should among those most involved in its production. There are many topics, people, cultural phenomena that merit in-depth articles and that lack channels for dialoging and for cultural exchange among members the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP in Portuguese) and between members of the CPLP and the rest of the world. We thought the internet would be the most far-reaching tool to extend and expand all of this potential for exposure and dialogue, especially among the youth; we currently get 500 readers a day without incurring heavy costs.

GVO: In addition to the thematic diversity of the articles posted on Buala, there is a very notable presence of the Portuguese language, of Lusophone culture…

B: The Lusophone factor, widely disseminated in terms of discourse throughout all the Portuguese-speaking countries, does not mean an integrated awareness of these countries’ realities and cultures. Buala seeks to bring these people together to dialogue, but we do not wish to fall into that trap of Lusophone discourse, and certainly not emanating from Portugal, which frequently reverberates the past. Many people visit this space; we share a common language and realities that interconnect; we feel at home in any of these countries, but truthfully there is no overarching mutual understanding nor any notable self-promotion among the countries.

Buala Identity and Diversity

"It is important to communicate with the dynamic natures of the Portuguese-speaking counties and their particular features, to reinforce their unity, but not to treat at their unity as a homogenous block." Image: Antonio Ole in the article Buala "Lusophony, identity and diversity in the web society"

The fact that we have general and particular view of these countries – of their frustrations and irritations, their trends, dependencies and desires, their cultural practices and the figures who comprise the cultural panorama of each, and precisely because we believe that there is a new generation that can live these realities by weaving in other elements and by internalizing and expressing a decolonized point of view, made us see the advantage of dialoging on the various perspectives in the interest of sharing.

It is with these new perspectives and new peaks that we are interested in working, in demystified manner, without excluding a post-colonial approach in our analysis of pat relations to understand those of the present. We are trying to revert the tendency of this “space for Portuguese language” like an isolated bubble separate from the rest of the world. We are interested in contributing to Portuguese-speaking countries’ observing and participating in what is happening in the rest of Africa, which sometimes does not happen; for example, Angola and Cape Verde communicate much more with Brazil and Portugal than with the rest of the countries of Africa. We could say the same about Africa’s and the world’s scarce interest in these countries as strong participants in the creation of culture.

On a linguistic level, we are interested in delving into the diversity of the Portuguese language, showing the variety of expressions, slang, lexicon, and variants of the language through Portuguese’s transformative capacity. We invite Mozambican, Brazilian, Angolan, Cape Verdean, Portuguese authors, and their way of writing enables us to understand the thinking and culture of their countries and reference points or, in the case of people who have may have one foot in more than one country, of the mix produced from the “constant Diaspora.” Many African authors and creators adhere to Buala as they see themselves part of an attempt to bring more visibility to good works that encourage youth to pursue the elements necessary for critical thinking.

GVO: Who composes Buala’s readership? Are you looking to expand this readership base?

B: Buala is an interdisciplinary web portal for reflection, critique and documenting contemporary Portuguese-speaking African cultures. We noticed there were similar projects in French, English, German, etc., but only minimal material published in Portuguese. Those projects include a special focus on French-speaking and English-speaking African countries and a dearth of articles on Portuguese-speaking African countries. We are interested in providing a current platform for articles that reflect and critique this contemporary culture within a “Portuguese-language space” and to do so in a way that is integrated and contextually connected to the reflections emerging from other countries and other authors. Thus, Buala proposes, on the one hand, to provide reflections and to translate them, for the time being, into French and English – the languages that seem to us the most important and most viable for translation – and, on the other hand, to translate into Portuguese some of the most relevant discussions on contemporary African culture.

This component of translation undoubtedly allows us to better disseminate knowledge of the articles written and the topics discussed at the international level. While it is always interesting to increase readership, currently it I not possible to expand the languages into which we translate our articles, and we believe that the three languages already provide significant scope.

Buala proposes “create new views, free from prejudice and colonial judgment.”. Photo: Sérgio Pinto Afonso in the article “Luanda, a state of urgency” by Marta Lança

Buala proposes “create new views, free from prejudice and colonial judgment.”. Photo: Sérgio Pinto Afonso in the article “Luanda, a state of urgency” by Marta Lança

GVO: Is the Portuguese-speaking community in African countries still under construction, compelled to articulate its need for decolonization? Or would it be a contradiction to talk of Lusophone culture and decolonization, considering that the Portuguese language in Africa is a colonial legacy, the result of a colonialist process that was once called “civilizing”? To what extent has contemporary Africa been questioning this?

B: In the first place, it is indeed important to reflect on the meanings of this “community under construction, positively under construction and positively rejected at times, since there are many possible identities within these countries in addition to this feature of the Portuguese language (which also should be viewed in country-specific context). We have published various articles on Buala that take new approaches to question the concept of Lusophone culture, that seek out these cultural identities shared among the countries, that draw comparisons to other models of linguistic, economic and cultural spaces, for example the Francophone sphere (in terms of cultural endeavors cultural and identification it is entirely different), and that pursues aspects that merit development in within this community.

We are well aware of this very dangerous “civilization” attribute that existed in colonial times and that remained in peoples’ minds for so long due to the manipulated idea of exception from Portuguese colonialism, couched in Luso-Tropicalia and other palliative theories. Lusophone culture depends on the narration of this certain history of Portuguese colonization, which justifies a certain present; for this reason we must recount alternative histories, expand our references and publish anti-colonial texts from resistance fighters, Negritude thinkers and leaders of the independence movements, from poets and philosophers and the entire cultural atmosphere of this period, from a perspective that is not only historic, but reflects on the current reality and that expresses the artistic views that subverts and takes new angles on old myths.

Image from the motion picture Mahla, by Mozambicans Mickey Fonseca and Pipas Forjaz, in the Buala blog “Dá Fala” (Gives Voice, pt), on African contemporary culture

Image from the motion picture Mahla, by Mozambicans Mickey Fonseca and Pipas Forjaz, in the Buala blog “Dá Fala” (Gives Voice, pt), on African contemporary culture

Lusophone culture sometimes runs the risk of being this cover up of a violent past, a political correctness with the rhetoric of heady interculturality, which gives us the sensation of being in a space truly concerned with the fundamental questions of how to live with the Other. It is hypocritical when we know that there is still so much racism, and it is important to stress that this is not exclusive to Portugal. In Cape Verde, there is deep-seated racism against people from the African coast. In Angola, it is directed towards the Congolese and the eternal poorly resolved questions between whites, blacks and mulattos. In Mozambique, complete dependence on foreign aid and neighboring markets provokes crises and desperation, like what we saw in September. São Tomé & Príncipe and Guiné-Bissau remain so unknown and urgently need greater cultural affirmation and positioning in the artistic sphere. Brazil exports the Brazilian culture to the entire world but is largely unfamiliar with the other Portuguese-speaking countries. Given the respective locations and preferential trading, these countries have other connections that also interest us.

Thus, aside from points of contact due to history and common migrations to/from these countries, we refuse to consider “Lusophone culture” as a single set, a sole block of countries. We believe in unity to strengthen the language and cultural exchanges, unity that needs to be better promoted (supporting more study grants and artists in residence, making the circulation of art/culture and the movement of peoples less bureaucratic, divesting ourselves of certain prejudices), but always taking into account the specific nature and diversity of each country. The internationalization that Buala seeks contributes so that Portuguese-speaking African countries are not hostage to the constraints of the dominant figures in each capital, to the cultural elite, to the lack of constructive criticism and opportunities for new voices to emerge. We are trying to move in the direction of expanding these biased and faulty visions with a more intergeneration, interdisciplinary and transnational approach.

Poster from a Capeverdean Creoule language course promoted in the Buala blog “Dá Fala” (Gives voice, pt), on African contemporary culture

Poster from a Capeverdean Creoule language course promoted in the Buala blog “Dá Fala” (Gives voice, pt), on African contemporary culture

Contemporary Africa flies in the face of the paternalistic views that have been the dominant trend in artistic production concerning Africa. We prioritize the new African generations that, despite having been beaten back the conflicts and wars in their particular countries, are less bound to a mentality of repression, that bring other experiences and ways of thinking and dreaming to the table. Children of the generation of nationalists and independence fighters have made this legacy a reference in their own fights, with the numerous challenges of the present. Africans who live abroad and maintain a connection to the continent, reflecting and positioning themselves in interesting ways. Contributions from various non-African writers who propose to take on Africa without the beaten narratives of the past, in contact with the world in which they live, cosmopolitan cities, with genuine and expressive curiosity.

If the African countries, under construction and facing many privations – filled with opportunists, from the local government to foreign interests, eternal accomplices in underdevelopment – do not place their bets on culture and education, they will not take the basic steps to a veritable show of strength among equals. Buala seeks to contribute to this qualitative jump with tools at its disposal and promptly create a meeting and discussion space accessible to all.

January 09 2011

Cape Verde: Alcoholism and the Youth

By Sara Moreira

Margarida Fontes, in the blog Os Momentos [The Moments, pt], quotes an interview to the former Minister of Health, Manuel Faustino, where he states that one of the major public health problems of Cape Verde, especially among the youth, is alcoholism and that “the problem should be addressed with aggressive educational policies”.

January 07 2011

Cape Verde: Women's contentious spirit

By Sara Moreira

Eurydice, from the blog Igualdade na Diferença [Equality in Difference, pt], pays a tribute to the contentious spirit of women from Cape Verde and tells the story of the Revolt of Ribeirao Manuel (Santiago island, 1910). Eurydice says that women were in the spotlight of the unrest.

Lusophone collective conscience and cyberspace

By Sara Moreira

Lusophony, identity and diversity in the network” [pt] is the title of an article written by the Portuguese researcher Lourdes Macedo (republished in the blog Buala), with reflections on the contribution that “cyberspace may offer to consolidate the collective conscience of a Lusophone community. “

December 31 2010

Glimpses of Citizen Media from Portuguese language countries in 2010

By Sara Moreira

Throughout 2010 the lusophone blogsphere has given new perspectives on important issues that mainstream media tends to ignore. Global Voices amplified citizens' reflections from four continents, on a vast linguistic region spreading from East Timor in Southeast Asia, to Portugal in Europe, Portuguese language countries in Sub-Saharan Africa – Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome & Principe and Cape Verde – and Brazil in South America. In this post we share a selection of the stories the Portuguese language countries team covered this year.

Citizen Media Phenomena

Brazilian citizen media triggered some interesting social movements and phenomena in 2010.

The year began with a demonstration of affection, as Raphael Tsavkko reported on a post about the preparation for an evening of mass kissing in Sao Paulo. The public event, organized by twitter users who use cyberactivism as a tool for social change, would become a protest in defence of same sex civil union, the criminalization of homophobia, the legalization of abortion and homo-parenting adoption

The idea is to show, joyfully, that people are different from each other, they are born, live, kiss, love, have relationships with whomever they please, regardless of some group or another turning up their nose at them, their lives go on in the privacy of their own homes.

In June, Debora Baldelli explained how an authentic pop star reached fame by taking advantage of the web. Debora told us the story of Brazilian singer Stefhany from a very poor region of Brazil, and quoted a blogger who said:

Stefhany’s new success shouldn’t be mocked the way it’s happening at youtube comments only with the intention to show yourself away from the popular sphere, but it should be seen as a bright example of the use of the internet by people from all social classes.

The most widespread image of the CALA BOCA GALVAO joke. Unknown author.

The most widespread image of the CALA BOCA GALVAO joke. Unknown author.

Perhaps the most curious citizen media phenomenon was demistified by Raphael Tsavkko

CALA BOCA GALVAO stands for “Shut up Galvao”.

A famous Brazilian narrator and broadcaster, Galvão Bueno, was made victim of a huge twitter phenomenon when millions of twitter users told him to shut up during the 2010 World Cup opening show, in June. CALA BOCA GALVAO ended up as a worldwide joke as non Portuguese speaking netcitizens couldn't understand the meaning of the lasting trending topic and were led to believe it concerned anything except of course telling someone to be quiet.

Brazilian presidential elections

2010 was a voting year for more than 135 million Brazilian citizens.

Back in April, Paula Góes wrote a post explaining how a bill that seeks to prevent politicians who have committed serious crimes from running in elections was becoming viral in the country.

A few days before the first round of the elections for the next President, Governors, Deputies and Senators on October 3, Global Voices highlighted electoral crimes, which were denounced by Brazilian citizens using the internet to push for clean elections.

The doors have opened for what could be a new paradigm of participatory citizenship, where citizens make their voices heard concerning the way politics happen in Brazil.

As Dilma Roussef became the first female president of Brazil on the second round of the elections, Paula Goes reported on women bloggers' reactions to this historic moment which some believed to be “a sign of changing times and of yet immeasurable magnitude”.

Development, Governance and Politics

The blogspheres from Mozambique and Angola had a word to say about development, governance and politics throughtout the year.

In Mozambique, donor countries briefly suspended budget support to the government over corruption concerns, sparking analysis and debate about aid, corruption and governance, as Janet Gunter reported in May.

In September 1-2, Maputo woke up to violent riots following government's decision to increase the prices of food, water and electricity. Janet wrote about the bloggers reflections on the unrest and the government's response, addressing the economic, political and social aspects of events. Critiques of “civil society”, globalization and Mozambique's economic model were numerous.

In June, Clara Onofre wrote about the Angolan government's decision to close the “doors” of the Roque Santeiro Market and to reopen in a more dignified and modern area called Panguila.

Roque Santeiro Market by Menina de Angola

The development experienced by Luanda holds one of the most frequented commercial spaces in the city, that generates thousands of dollars a day. Roque Santeiro Market by Menina de Angola

Energy

Energy production and exploration as well as its future social and environmental impacts have also been under discussion by lusophone netcitizens.

In January, Janet Gunter reported on the announcement made by the Council of Ministers of Mozambique revoking a massive land concession for the biofuels firm Procana. At stake was the management of nationalized lands on an area bordering on the cross-border Limpopo National Park where 38,000 people live. Following NGOs denouncements a few months later in July Janet gathered blogsphere reactions to a trilateral agreement between Brazil, Mozambique and the European Union promoting ethanol production in Mozambique for the European market.

On the other side of the Indian Ocean, East Timor's natural resource wealth was also in the spotlight. Janet wrote about the use of the Petroleum Fund from Timor's oil fields - the country's greatest source of revenue - and gave us an overview on the potential creation of a National Oil Company.

Flickr User United Nations Photo, CC

A different article reveals serious tensions between Timorese leaders, Australia, and Woodside, the multinational company hoping to profit from new petroleum resources in Timorese territory. Flickr User United Nations Photo, CC

Rising blogspheres

Sao Tome & Principe's blogsphere is still scarce. However, from the beginning of 2010, bloggers got together to denounce a water diversion from the country's main hospital and to pressure the government for action.

Guinea-Bissau's blogosphere was much animated throughout the year by António Aly Silva from the blog Ditadura do Consenso [Dictatorship of Consensus, pt]. In an interview for Global Voices, Aly - considered by many the most visible and active face of the country's online arena - gave us a glimpse of how is it to be a subversive blogger in Guinea Bissau.

Indigenous People

Brazilian indigenous people were also featured on Global Voices in 2010.

In November, Raphael Tsavkko and Sara Moreira wrote about the constant attacks and the alarming rash of suicides that the Guarani Kaiowa have been suffering. They are one of three groups descended from the original Guarani, who still represent one of the most numerous indigenous people in Brazil, though they are profoundly affected by the loss of almost all their land in the last century.

Photo by simpindigena, used with permission.

Photo by simpindigena, used with permission.

Technology has been gaining ground as an efficient means to ensure the indigenous lifestyle and culture. In August, Elisa Thiago told us how tools like Google Earth and GPS aid in reforestation efforts and help to combat deforestation.

Chicoepab Surui, from the Paiter Surui people of the Amazon, covered the first gathering ever of delegates of 16 indigenous communities from all over Brazil to discuss the Internet, and how to use it in favor of indigenous people

Today we, indigenous people, use this technology that is alien to our culture as a tool to seek improvements for our communities and to fight for our rights.

Aiming to promote a new perspective on Brazil shown by their indigenous peoples to an international audience, Chicoepab's debut in Global Voices marks the kick off of a pilot project with a community from Rondônia. In 2011, Repórter Surui will cover issues of indigenous interest and general news for Global Voices Portuguese, from the perspective of indigenous peoples.

Come back in 2011 to listen to more stories by citizen reporters from the Portuguese language countries. If you would like to join our multicultural team at the lusophone Global Voices and help us break the language barrier that separates blogospheres, peoples and countries, please contact us.

December 02 2010

Lusophone countries: anti-capitalist portal, ten months on

By Raphael Tsavkko Garcia

Diário Liberdade (Daily Freedom, pt/gz), an anti-capitalist portal serving left-wing activist groups in the Spanish autonomous community of Galicia and Portuguese-speaking countries, analyses its first ten months online.

October 28 2010

Cape Verde: draft law passed to regulate Council of Communities

By Marta Cooper

Olhofuturo [pt] reports that a draft law regulating the Council of Communities has been approved by Cape Verde's national assembly, with the aim [pt] of better tackling issues of migration and diaspora. One result looks to be improved efficiency of administrative consular tasks for Cape Verde citizens living abroad, according to Instituto das Comunidades [pt].

October 17 2010

Brazil: Encounters and Dialogues on Lusophone Cultures

By Sara Moreira

From 18-22 October there are “lusophone encounters and dialogues” [pt] with Portuguese language African countries at the Federal University of Ceará. The Brazilian University hosts the 3rd edition of the festival that aims to reflect about cultural influences and common identities. Follow on Twitter. @IIIFestivalUFC.

October 15 2010

Cape Verde: Stories from the “Camp of the Slow Death”

By Sara Moreira

Paulino Dias describes [pt] his visit to Tarrafal camp, in the Cape Verdean island of Santiago, regretting the fact that the former political prison from the Portuguese dictatorship (1926-1974), known as the “Camp of the Slow Death”, has not yet been transformed into a museum.

October 01 2010

Cape Verde: Celebrating Independence while Revisiting Typography

By Sara Moreira

To mark the 51st anniversary of the creation of the movement that organized the independence struggle in Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde, PAIGC [pt, en], Jorge Brito presents a collection of old stamps and other graphics while chronicling historical events surrounding the 70s in Cape Verde [pt].

September 09 2010

Cape Verde: Six Cities Become Twenty Four

By Sara Moreira

Net-citizens from Cape Verde have been discussing the recent decision made by the Government to promote eighteen former towns and villages to cities, leading to a total of twenty four. In question is the lack of infrastructures: reportedly, some of the new cities don't have water supply or even streets. [all links in pt]

August 23 2010

Cape Verde: Debates on Youth and Politics Happening in Portugal

By Sara Moreira

There is a group of Cape Verdean citizens who occasionally organize meetings in Lisbon to discuss the relations between youth and politics, as Suzano Costa explains in a video [pt] republished by Amilcar Tavares. In their blog - Tertúlia Crioula [pt] - one can read the notes taken from “Cape Verde in Debate” as well as other discussions on important issues.

July 16 2010

Brazil: Lusophone Countries United at the Theater Stage

By Debora Baldelli

For the first time in Brazil, theater groups from East Timor and Sao Tome & Principe will present plays at the FESTLIP (Festival of Portuguese Language) [pt]. The festival taking place in Rio de Janeiro, also includes plays from all the other lusophone states: Cape Verde, Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal and Brazil.

July 09 2010

Cape Verde: Rap as Socio-Political Stage

By Debora Baldelli

Blogger Redy Wilson Lima talks about the rescue attempt of Cape Verde identity through art [pt]. For him, rap and the hip hop movement have been the country's socio-political stage since the 90s, giving voice to the oppressed (see the local rap video “Difficult Situation“, pt).

July 06 2010

Cape Verde: Behind the Concept of National Branding

By Sara Moreira

Bloggers from Cape Verde have been discussing the originality of the logo which resulted from a national tourism branding competition: some say it lacks quality, others question its link with the national identity. In response, designer Rafael Fernandes created a blog to explain the concept.

June 30 2010

Cape Verde: Bau Talks On Being a Musician in a Small Country

By Sara Moreira

In an interview for blog Café Margoso [pt], musician Bau shares his dream of creating a music school for the children of Cape Verde. The artist says that because he is based in “such a small country”, he finds many restrictions to the possibilities of growing as an artist.

Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl