22 September 2010

Amilcar Cabral

African Revolutionary Writers, Part 4

Amilcar Cabral, 1924 - 1973

We are not meeting this week, because of the Public Holiday on Friday, immediately after our meeting day. When that happens, we don’t meet; but in this case, we will post the week’s text anyway.

Very appropriately, the holiday is Heritage Day. The text for this week (download linked below) is Amilcar Cabral’s speech on National Liberation and Culture. This speech was originally delivered on February 20, 1970; as part of the Eduardo Mondlane Memorial Lecture Series at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York; that is more than forty years ago. Yet it is as fresh and relevant as if it had been written yesterday, based on appraisal of our present circumstances.

Foreign domination “can be maintained only by the permanent, organized repression of the cultural life of the people concerned,” wrote Cabral. Attempted assimilation is “a more or less violent attempt to deny the culture of the people in question.” It does not work. In fact there are no ways in which the coloniser can succeed.

“…it is generally within the culture that we find the seed of opposition, which leads to the structuring and development of the liberation movement,” says Cabral.

“…national liberation takes place when, and only when, national productive forces are completely free of all kinds of foreign domination. The liberation of productive forces and consequently the ability to determine the mode of production most appropriate to the evolution of the liberated people necessarily opens up new prospects for the cultural development of the society in question, by returning to that society all its capacity to create progress,” says Cabral.

Cabral develops the idea that “…we must take into account the fact that, faced with the prospect of political independence, the ambition and opportunism from which the liberation movement generally suffers may bring into the struggle unconverted individuals. The latter, on the basis of their level of schooling, their scientific or technical knowledge, but without losing any of their social class biases, may attain the highest positions in the liberation movement.”

Cabral concludes “…the liberation struggle is, above all, a struggle both for the preservation and survival of the cultural values of the people and for the harmonization and development of these values within a national framework.”

So, on Heritage Day, we have to conclude that the struggle continues, or in Portuguese: A luta continua!

African Revolutionary Writers’ Series
In this fourth part of our series, which is concerned with the several rebellions against the Lusophone colonists, we would aim to have text from Eduardo Mondlane, Agostinho Neto and Samora Machel at the very least. So far, we have not located any electronic reproductions of original texts of these revolutionaries on the Internet. Nor has anyone sent in any such soft-copies of original texts. 

We have time. The next time we will be running this course, if we stick to our draft schedule, will be in the first half of 2011. All original African Revolutionary Writers’ texts will be welcome. Please send any that you may have, of these or of other authors.

Please download and read the entire text via this link:


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