Culture - Literature

As a result of the liberalisation of education in the mid 19th Century, a generation of intellectual, particularly authors, started to make its presence felt in Cape Verde, even in the 19th Century, with poetry from Eugénio Tavares (1867-1930). The poet himself was born and grew up in Brava, immersed in an atmosphere of rare intellectualism, and his teacher was the popular philosopher, José Rodrigues Aleixo, who lived in an isolated location with a view of the beach of Aguada. Eugénio also frequented the location for romantic trysts, and had excellent teachers, first in primary school, then later in various private lessons.

The “Claridade” (clarity) movement (1936-7 and 1947-60) marked a vigourous start to Cape Verdean intellectuality, which is still felt today, through no more than 9 issues of an irregular magazine, which profoundly defined the new personality assumed by the Cape Verdeans. Manuel Lopes, of S. Vicente (1907/2005), Baltazar Lopes da Silva, of S. Nicolau (1907/1989) and Jorge Barbosa, of Santiago (1902/1971), the mentors of this true flag of autonomy, affirmed without hesitation the importance of Creole in the matrix of the unique identity of Cape Verde, and reinforced this initiative with works that would pass on a consciousness of an individual Creole identity with deep roots going back to the 16th Century to generations of students. In doing so they marked a decisive turning point in the history of Cape Verde.

The magazine was in fact called Claridade – Revista de Arte e Letras, a subtitle that was amply justified by the broad range of subjects it covered, from poetry, novels, stories and literary criticism to music and dance, painting and drawing, as well as history and geography, and even sociological analysis.

After the “Claridade” generation came another wave of writers and thinkers, who tried to break with the conciliatory style of the magazine. Some of the key figures were Amílcar Cabral, the great leader of the independence movement (PAIGC), and Corsino Fortes, among others.

More recently, there has been a new wave of writers, historians and poets, such as Germano Almeida, Germano Lima, Daniel Pereira, Vera Duarte, Mário Lúcio Sousa, Ludgero Correia and many others, who are already integrated to a vast network of citizens, confirming Cape Verde as a nation with many heirs to those who started the adventure of writing less than a century ago.

Arménio Vieira, recently awarded the Camões Prize, is a poet who drinks from European literature and follows a path that is autonomous from the general national current of Cape Verdean literature, affirming a growing pluralism.

As a result of the liberalisation of education in the mid 19th Century, a generation of intellectual, particularly authors, started to make its presence felt in Cape Verde, even in the 19th Century, with poetry from Eugénio Tavares (1867-1930). The poet himself was born and grew up in Brava, immersed in an atmosphere of rare intellectualism, and his teacher was the popular philosopher, José Rodrigues Aleixo, who lived in an isolated location with a view of the beach of Aguada. Eugénio also frequented the location for romantic trysts, and had excellent teachers, first in primary school, then later in various private lessons.

The “Claridade” (clarity) movement (1936-7 and 1947-60) marked a vigourous start to Cape Verdean intellectuality, which is still felt today, through no more than 9 issues of an irregular magazine, which profoundly defined the new personality assumed by the Cape Verdeans. Manuel Lopes, of S. Vicente (1907/2005), Baltazar Lopes da Silva, of S. Nicolau (1907/1989) and Jorge Barbosa, of Santiago (1902/1971), the mentors of this true flag of autonomy, affirmed without hesitation the importance of Creole in the matrix of the unique identity of Cape Verde, and reinforced this initiative with works that would pass on a consciousness of an individual Creole identity with deep roots going back to the 16th Century to generations of students. In doing so they marked a decisive turning point in the history of Cape Verde.

The magazine was in fact called Claridade – Revista de Arte e Letras, a subtitle that was amply justified by the broad range of subjects it covered, from poetry, novels, stories and literary criticism to music and dance, painting and drawing, as well as history and geography, and even sociological analysis.

After the “Claridade” generation came another wave of writers and thinkers, who tried to break with the conciliatory style of the magazine. Some of the key figures were Amílcar Cabral, the great leader of the independence movement (PAIGC), and Corsino Fortes, among others.

More recently, there has been a new wave of writers, historians and poets, such as Germano Almeida, Germano Lima, Daniel Pereira, Vera Duarte, Mário Lúcio Sousa, Ludgero Correia and many others, who are already integrated to a vast network of citizens, confirming Cape Verde as a nation with many heirs to those who started the adventure of writing less than a century ago.

Arménio Vieira, recently awarded the Camões Prize, is a poet who drinks from European literature and follows a path that is autonomous from the general national current of Cape Verdean literature, affirming a growing pluralism.

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