Between Truth and Inventions: How Public Commemorations Recite the Biography of Amílcar Cabral

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter demonstrates how, after national independence in 1975, the Cabo Verdean state (re)constructed the public biography of Amílcar Cabral, the leader of the independence struggles of Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde, to legitimize a new political order. Given that no official biography of Amílcar Cabral exists and that even the heroic body is missing (Cabral was buried in Guinea-Biassau), public commemorations have been used to (re)invent a celebratory icon to shape public memory, nationalize history, and perform political power. More specifically, the chapter illustrates how the celebration of the Cabo Verdean National Day (1975) narrates to the public the biography of Amílcar Cabral. It shows how Cabral’s biography became intertwined with national collective memory, emphasizing the relationship between the remembrance of Cabral’s birthday, the establishment of the Cabo Verdean Nationality Day, and the commemorative uses of elements of Cabral’s biography. Using newspaper articles from the post-independence era, it first analyzes the elements upon which official commemorations are based to delineate Cabral’s biography. It then explores how the biography related by the commemorative rhetoric has articulated complex processes related to the construction of the anticolonial memory, the (re)writing of national history, the exercise of power, and the construction of the post-colonial nation-state.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Politics of Biography in Africa
Subtitle of host publicationBorders, Margins, and Alternative Histories of Power
EditorsAnais Angelo
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-54424-9
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies on Gender and Sexuality in Africa


Dive into the research topics of 'Between Truth and Inventions: How Public Commemorations Recite the Biography of Amílcar Cabral'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this